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Randy Paulson
Randy Paulson

America's love affair with hybrid and electric cars

In 2011, President Obama challenged the U.S. Department of Energy, and the rest of the nation to put one million electric cars on the road by 2015. The Department of Energy has since eased off the deadline, according to Mercury News, but says it's still committed to the President's goal.

And they're not the only ones. Now more than ever, the country is dedicated to the idea of hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads across the country. Forbes estimates that roughly 56,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2012. That's only a small portion contributing to Obama's one million goal, but it does lend to the evidence that America is buying into the idea of going green on the road. The reasons go beyond the simple numbers of supply and variety. Here are some of the reasons we might just reach that goal set by the President in 2013:

China's Polluted Reality

China's overwhelming pollution has been in the news several times lately. ABC News reported that one of the biggest factors contributing to the poor air quality is the amount of cars that inhabit the roads in the nation of more than one billion people. 13 million cars were sold just last year within their own borders, so it's safe to say that it's a growing problem.

A picture speaks a thousand words, and the images we're seeing from cities like Beijing and Shanghai contain so much smog and pollution that you can hardly see the iconic skylines underneath the man-made clouds of smoke. The citizens there even have to wear masks just to breathe while walking around the city.

This is a serious wake up call for Americans who want to avoid the same fate. Hybrid and EVs aren't the only way to prevent smog-filled cities, but car buyers know they're a good start.

Europe Shadows Our Demand

Similar to President Obama's demand for 2015, a commission in the European Union has set its own goal to increase the number of electric cars on the road to cut carbon emissions by 2025, Reuters reported. In 2010, hybrid and EVs consisted of about 1.1 percent of the total market in Europe, which is a decent start.

How does this benefit the U.S.? Because there's demand in two continents, automakers will continue to cut production costs and increase supply, which essentially passes on the savings to the buyer. The costs of hybrid and EVs have been scrutinized for high maintenance and car coverage costs, so the cheaper it is to make one, the cheaper it is to maintain.

Manufacturers Predict Enormous Production

Automakers aren't messing around with the limits of their hybrid/electric-vehicle production. Ford Motors introduced five new electric-powered models in the last year, and expects 2013 to be a record year for sales, according to Bloomberg.com

The Detroit-born auto company sold 6,000 hybrid cars in 2012; a sizeable increase from the previous year, and the rest of the American auto industry seems to be following suit. The U.S. Department of Energy may be skeptical of the 2015 deadline set by President Obama. But as far as they're concerned, the one million isn't a matter of if, but when.

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