A Clean-Car Boom

In a welcome development for the planet, the cars on American streets are becoming much more climate-friendly much sooner than many had expected.

 Consumers are increasingly buying fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles thanks to breakthrough innovations and supportive government policies.

The transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of American greenhouse gas emissions, the most after power plants. Reducing those emissions will require many changes, including greater use of public transit. More efficient cars will almost certainly play a critical role, too; increased fuel efficiency helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passengers cars by 16 percent from 2005 to 2012.

Automakers sold more than 350,000 hybrid and electric cars in the first seven months of this year, up 30 percent from the same period in 2012. While these vehicles make up less than 4 percent of light vehicle sales, hybrids, which use electric motors and conventional engines, are now so mainstream that there are more than 40 models available. The most popular one, the Toyota Prius, is among the 10 best-selling passenger cars in the country.

Read full text at The New York Times