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At a press conference last week, Toyota chief executive officer Akio Toyoda raved that hybrid vehicles have aided survivors of the devastating earthquake that rattled Japan. Toyoda's not-so-subtle message plugged the gas-electric vehicles for their ability to extend the time between fill-ups, pointing out that hybrid owners have written him letters, which Toyoda outlined like this:

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Wish you could have a minivan and a hybrid, too? The combination has been available in the Toyota Estima in Japan for six years, and the Union of Concerned Scientists and HybridCenter.org think it's high time this vehicle is available stateside. As part of an Earth Day push, the two organizations have set up an online petition calling on Toyota to make the Estima hybrid available for sale here.

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