Change is Coming to Auto World, But Slowly

Demand for large cars remains high even as trends move to reduce emissions.

Published: 05-Jan-2007

Following decades of misfires, technologically advanced vehicles with lower CO2 emissions are beginning to gain ground on local roads.

Automakers began to build smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles in the 1970s; some created functional electric vehicles in the 1990s, but manufacturers struck a balance at the turn of the century when they unveiled hybrids that use both gasoline and electricity for power.

The hybrids quickly outshined their electric counterparts, evolving to better accommodate the needs of today's drivers while meeting California mandates requiring carmakers to build vehicles minimizing CO2 emissions, experts said.

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Smaller cars and more hybrids are emerging trends among carmakers, both foreign and domestic, including the introduction this year in North America of the Toyota Yaris, pictured below.

Mercury Mariner Hybrids are built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant. Pricing for the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid starts at a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,840.

Starting price has increased $2,000 from last year, with the base Civic Hybrid now carrying a manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $22,400.

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