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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Toyota Looks to Embrace Natural-Gas Hybrid Cars

A decade after their first unpopular attempt at a natural-gas vehicle, Toyota says they are looking to CNG for the future.

High gas prices have made natural-gas vehicles more desirable, but Honda is still the only major carmaker currently offering a CNG vehicle. While their car is only available in California and New York, Honda says they can’t keep their Civic GX in stock due to popularity, and plans to build 2,000 more for 2009. Toyota wants some of the pie.

Come November, Toyota will debut its CNG-electric hybrid Camry at the Los Angeles Auto show, but the company has not yet decided to put the vehicle into production.

At a conference this week in Portland, Oregon, Toyota cited data showing that oil production is declining, while natural-gas is still abundant to make their case for natural-gas vehicles. CNG has also been hailed by T. Boone Pickens as one of the most important solutions to America’s energy crisis.

Like electric vehicles, natural-gas cars are great for commutes, but long trips might be hard. There are very few natural-gas refueling stations open to customers in the US, meaning that many drivers can often only fill up at home.

Photo Credit: Rockershirt on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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