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Environmental Cars are Sexy

Environmental Cars are Sexy

Researchers from the University of Michigan said this week that the crop of new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. in October are the most efficient ever to hit American roads.  Their average fuel was 24.1 mpg combined.  That’s a four mile-per-gallon improvement from five years ago.

This gain in fuel efficiency equates to a collective savings of $8 billion a year at the pumps, according to Natural Resources Defense Council.  That’s just the beginning.  Consumers should expect billions of dollars of additional relief on fuel costs in coming years—as the country’s fleet makes steady increases to a whopping 54.5 mpg, the target established by Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations by 2025.

The trend shows how important it is to make slow and steady incremental improvements in fuel efficiency—across the entire fleet of cars and light trucks.  These are critical evolutionary improvements derived from more efficient gas and diesel engines.  But hardcore environmentalists want to see changes that are revolutionary, especially considering recent severe weather patterns that many scientists link to global warming.

The key to popularizing the next wave of hybrids, electric cars and clean diesel vehicles, surprisingly, might have little do with whiz-bang engineering—and more to do with style.  If cutting-edge green cars stand a chance of being adopted by mainstream buyers, they are going to have to look cool.

“We want to emphasize the fact that an environmental car can look sexy,” said Henrik Fisker, designer of the sleek Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid.  The 2012 Tesla Model S, an all-electric car, looks like a Maserati or Aston Martin. BMW will soon introduce a full line of snazzy carbon-fiber electric cars.  And even the hybrid gas-electric stalwart, the Toyota Prius, could get a sex-appeal makeover.

Bloomberg reported this week that Toyota is studying whether to keep the Prius’s aerodynamic wedge-shape for the 2013 model.  If the company makes a change, the Prius could look less like a nerd-mobile, by taking on more muscle, racecar curves, or urban chic aesthetics. Toyota’s consideration to broaden Prius’s appeal coincides with record sales of the model.  Toyota is on track to sell about 1 million Priuses globally this year—if you include the entire line of models from the compact Prius C to the Prius V wagon. Just think how many would sell—and how many gallons of fuel we would save—if the Prius was, well, attractive.

As green cars ditch their “eat your vegetables” persona, the question is cast back to consumers: What kind of looks would get you to put a high-mpg gas or electric car in your driveway?

Photo Credit: Tesla

For more information about fuel efficient cars, visit eBay Green Driving.

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eBay Green Driving

eBay Green Driving helps drivers save money at the pump, and reduce their environmental impact. It offers user-friendly tools and resources, as well as eBay's unique green vehicle and parts inventory, in a single location, to help people determine the best ways to "green" their daily driving routines. The site covers the full range of efficient technologies: electric vehicles, hybrids, clean diesels, compressed natural gas and ethanol vehicles, as well as high-MPG gasoline vehicles. Green Driving's Fuel Type Comparison Tool was developed in cooperation with the Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov. World-class content is provided by leading writers and researchers in the field of eco-friendly automotive technology.

19 comments

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9:09PM PDT on Aug 16, 2014

Thanks for the information.

2:16AM PST on Dec 9, 2012

I'm sure the future will see transport change tremendously and improve to be still even ego-friendlier

9:47PM PST on Nov 15, 2012

This will likely help them sell a lot

11:11AM PST on Nov 15, 2012

I don't know that "sexy" is the best word but alternatives are crucial to the well being of our planet.

1:33PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

Hybrid cars uses Rare Earth. Google rare earth and come tell me how environmentally friendly the hybrid car is!!!

10:59PM PST on Nov 12, 2012

Good ideas, thank you. Even better, go car-free if you can ...

4:27PM PST on Nov 12, 2012

Whatever it takes to get weaned off fossil fuels!

1:24PM PST on Nov 12, 2012

anything that will sell economic cars and get the US off of pollution poison energy sources is good to me.....

7:56AM PST on Nov 12, 2012

Looks are definitively important when it comes to choosing a car. And an eco-friendly one? even better.

10:52PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

If they look good they will sell provided they perform well.

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