When it comes to saving cash at the pump, one of the best ways to improve fuel economy is to avoid lugging around unnecessary pounds. We've already lost a few odd ounces when we replaced our CDs for an MP3 player, and when gas prices begin to rise again, it might be a good time to consider that diet you've been putting off.

Toyota has the same idea for their hybrid vehicles, so when the next generation Prius rolls of the line, its hybrid drivetrain will have its weight cut in half. The automaker is in a race with Honda to significantly reduce the weight of these systems, and in doing so, will also reduce the cost of the vehicle overall.

It's estimated that the current Prius has a price penalty of about $4,000 dollars due to its gas/electric setup. ToMoCo wants to bring that figure down to about $1,900 and plans to do so within the next three years. The same goes for Honda, who intends on only charging a $1,700 premium for its hybrid-equipped whips by 2009.

[Source: Financial Times via Inside Line]

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