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Carmakers bet on green future

Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally kisses the hood of the brand new all electric Ford Focus at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show on January 7, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

2012 was a record year for fuel economy, with an average 23.5 miles per gallon. That trend is expected to continue next year.

Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst for Edumunds.com, says increasing fuel economy laws continue to drive the market, and the rewards for research and development are huge. Just ask Toyota, she says:

"Every automaker wants to have that car that is like the Prius, and really stands for moving forward, technology, fuel efficiency. So, I think it is in their best interest to create these vehicles."

In 2013 six new hybrid models and eight more plug-ins will be sold across the country. And while the fuel efficiency of regular old internal-combustion engines is also improving, Caldwell says automakers are still banking on hybrid technology.

"They're definitely going to win out in the long run. So it's not a short-term strategy, but a long-term strategy."

Right now, hybrid or all-electric cars make up only three percent of the market, up from just 0.2 percent a decade ago.

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