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Know the West

Don’t fill ’er up, plug ’er in

  The "Heard Around the West" note about the introduction of the "Smart fortwo" car in the U.S. should, I suppose, seem to be good news (HCN, 5/26/08). We should not be distracted, however, from the fact that the sooner we convert to all-electric vehicles powered by wind turbines or another solar source, the better it will be for the planet. Toyota has plans for an all-electric vehicle, but no plans to introduce it into the U.S. until sales of the Prius drop off; think about that if you are thinking about buying a Prius. Mitsubishi is introducing an all-electric vehicle in Japan in 2010. This car will travel about 90 miles on a charge and is expected to cost under $19,000 -- but it won't be sold in the U.S. "unless there is consumer demand." Hybrids have satisfied most of the demand for "environmentally friendly" vehicles -- ironic, given that the latest generation of hybrids (in larger vehicles) is not all that environmentally friendly.

Zachary Smith
Flagstaff, Arizona