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Despite roadblocks, automakers promising greener rides

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Mark Blinch/REUTERS

(Read caption) A luxury version of the Toyota Prius, the 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid car, was introduced during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday.

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The Detroit Auto Show is in full swing, and it seems that every participant is promising a new hybrid, a gas-sipping microcar, or a fully electric vehicle.

On Sunday, Honda unveiled the next generation of its hybrid Insight, a five-door hatchback that is a successor to the hybrid of the same name that was discontinued in 2006. Honda plans to produce 200,000 Insights next year, with 100,000 going on sale in the United States starting on April 22 (which just happens to be Earth Day).

Not to be outdone, Toyota has revealed its 2010 Prius. This sleeker, more fuel-efficient version boasts 50 miles per gallon – a 4 m.p.g. improvement over the current version – and a moon roof with solar panels that power the ventilation system.

Toyota is also rolling out a Lexus version of the Prius, which for some insane reason is not being called the Plexus. Instead, they're calling it the HS250h, which stands for Hybrid Sedan 250 hybrid. New York Times auto journalist Michelle Maynard pressed Lexus's general manager about the redundancy, and he seemed to agree that it was a pretty dumb name.

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