A grassroots coalition of U.S. cities including Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, joined by electric utilities kicked off Tuesday a campaign to get automakers to speed development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
Basically a gas-electric hybrid with bigger batteries, PHEVs target an electric-only operating range of 25 to 35 miles. Recharging from a 110V socket at today's electricity rates would mean consumers were buying "fuel" at about 75 cents per "electric gallon."

The campaign is called "Plug-In Partners," and already includes almost a dozen cities, spearheaded by Austin, Texas, which has pledged $1 million in city rebates for its citizens and businesses purchasing PHEVs.

The campaign will use petition drives, pledges (or "soft orders") to buy PHEVs when available, and community incentive programs to lobby automakers. More details at pluginpartners.org.

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