The pledge was made in an internet petition as part of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s “earthsmartcars” campaign.

“Auto makers won’t get really serious about building hybrid cars unless they think there’s a market for them,” said Jacob Scherr, NRDC senior attorney. “We’re going to show them that the demand exists. Both Honda and Toyota are about to sell hybrid cars here, and US automakers are fully capable of building such vehicles with performance, convenience, and price comparable to today’s cars.”

Hybrid cars pair a gasoline engine with an electric motor that recharges as the cars are driven. Hybrid car owners don’t need recharging equipment or extra stops at recharging stations. They refuel their cars at ordinary gas stations – although with fuel economy averaging 60 miles to the gallon, drivers need to make far fewer trips to the pump.

Hybrid cars also produce fewer emissions than conventional cars.

“Putting this petition online reminds us that while America is the technological pacesetter in areas like the computer industry, Detroit remains stalled with reliance on old-fashioned, inherently dirty and wasteful internal combustion engines,” said Scherr. “This campaign intends to quick-start the transformation to the next generation of much cleaner, more efficient vehicles, which we have dubbed ‘earthsmartcars.'”

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a non-profit organisation of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting the world’s natural resources and ensuring a safe and healthy environment.`

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