Hybrid Car Sales, Demand Picking Up

More people are driving the fuel-efficient cars.

Published: 04-Jan-2003

P> LOS ANGELES -- The Toyota Prius is something of an unofficial "official" car at the Monterey Bay Aquarium -- 13 staffers or key volunteers drive the gas-electric hybrid.

The Prius, which gets more than 50 miles per gallon, is also the latest star car in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Rob Reiner each have one, and Friday, a few stars were among more than 70 hybrid drivers who parked their cars outside the Los Angeles Auto Show to send a message to automakers and lawmakers that there is a demand for fuel-efficient cars.

Hybrids, which rely on electric motors to propel the car at low speeds or to turn off the gas engines when waiting at a traffic signal, have seen slow but steady sales growth. With California regulators leading the way, the government is also pushing automakers to dramatically reduce exhaust emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

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