Green Machines: One Giant Jolt for Mankind

Buying & Leasing a Car

Green Machines: One Giant Jolt for Mankind

The vast majority of the vehicles sold in the U.S. run on gasoline, but the number of green alternatives keeps growing.

Hybrids. Even with a plethora of Priuses on the road, hybrids make up only slightly more than 2% of vehicles sold. Supply is tight because of battery shortages, and sales for most models have been so-so because of the price premium.


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A larger, more fuel-efficient Prius debuts for 2010, and this spring Honda launches a new hybrid with an old name, the Insight. The Insight will sell for less than the $22,000 Prius, making it the lowest-priced hybrid on the road. This spring, Ford delivers its 2010 Fusion hybrid, which gets 41 mpg in the city -- 8 mpg better than the Toyota Camry hybrid -- and can work in electric-only mode up to 47 miles per hour. It will start at about $27,000.

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Electric vehicles. If you believe the hype, the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid will transform the Detroit automaker. But the Volt may cost as much as $40,000 when it is introduced late next year. The Toyota Prius plug-in will be introduced later this year, but will initially be sold to commercial customers only. Many other carmakers have either a plug-in hybrid or an all-electric vehicle in the works, including Chrysler, Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan.

BMW recently introduced its Mini E, a two-seater version of the Mini Cooper. For now, 500 Mini E's are being distributed to select customers in California, New Jersey and New York.

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