Sadly, the trend in the U.S. car market is on producing and importing hybrid models that focus on increased muscle rather than mileage. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. The Union of Concerned Scientists says that Japanese families have a choice unavailable in America–a hybrid minivan with fuel economy as good as a compact car. They estimate that the Toyota Estima Hybrid could reach around 35 miles per gallon in the United State–a 50 percent improvement.
Even if you’re a minivanophobe (like me), you want to help get this car into the U.S. market. Here’s how. Toyota’s aiming to sell about 8,400 Estimas in Japan this year. We can show Toyota that the demand for more fuel-economy-focused hybrids is even stronger in America. Please sign the petition here, and get others to join you by May 28, 2007. The Union of Concerned Scientists will deliver your signatures to Toyota executives on Memorial Day–the unofficial start of the summer driving and higher gas price season. Just in time for the Toyota annual shareholders’ meeting.