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>Following in the footsteps of the most successful line of hybrid vehicles, Toyota plans to offer a plug in hybrid vehicle by 2011 – This is in response to a renewed focus on plug-in technology, most notably the Chevy Volt to be released in late 2010. The car uses a lithium-ion battery and can travel 14.5 miles on a single charge before the hybrid-electric motor kicks in. The estimated mileage for the car is an astonishing 134mpg! That will make up for some of the Hummers still on the road.

Toyota also promises that the car will be “affordable” but no price tag has been given yet. As with all new technologies it will be more expensive, however, with the excellent mileage, the reduced fuel costs might make up for the up front expenditure in short order. Charging the battery at night when electricity prices are lower would also help cut energy costs of the car. This brings up the issues of widespread use of plug-in technology and the resulting burden on the electrical grid and increased emissions from power plants to meet electricity demands. We already have an energy crisis in this country and more demand would strain the already faulty system. Truth be told, I would rather there be rolling blackouts because of plug-in vehicles rather than air conditioning units. The grid should not be an obstacle for greener modes of transportation.