Toyota promises more fuel-efficient, affordable Prius by 2015

August 29, 2013 12:00 AM

The Toyota Prius helped lead the charge of energy-efficient vehicles when it first went on sale more than a decade ago. Now as greater emphasis continues to be placed on fuel efficiency, the popular car will soon become even more affordable. Toyota officials say that the next Prius will have better gas mileage, be more compact and cost less than previous models, Automotive News Europe reported.

Since it launched the Prius, Toyota has sold more than 5 million of the innovative autos, and they have received largely positive reviews. But the next generation may take things to a new level. Insiders estimate that, thanks to recent advancements in battery, electric motor and gas engine technology, the newest versions of the Prius could get around 55 miles per gallon. While only a slight improvement of about 5 miles per gallon, analysts say that's a significant bump. 

"The challenge to continue to improve at this rate, to beat your own record, becomes very difficult but makes it all the more motivating," Toyota Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso told reports recently, as quoted by The Associated Press. "I can tell you that we are very motivated to beat our record."

This new batch of Priuses are slated to hit dealerships sometime in 2015, and until that time, there some steps that drivers can take if they are looking to improve their gas mileage. Some of the most effective methods are surprisingly simple. According to Forbes, driving the speed limit can save motorists anywhere between 7 and 49 cents per gallon. Additionally, regular maintenance such as replacing dirty air filters can improve mileage by as much as 10 percent, experts say. 

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