Toyota began working on the development of cars with better fuel efficiency in the 1990s. The result of their efforts? The Prius, which originally debuted in 1997 and arrived in the United States in 2000. The Prius’ hybrid power system utilized regenerative braking to convert energy into electricity. However, this early Prius was not a success. Toyota’s designers and engineers went back to the drawing board and in 2003, the company debuted a brand-new version of the Prius, which earned an impressive EPA estimated efficiency rating of 46 miles per gallon. The new Prius exceeded Toyota’s expectations and hundreds of thousands of units were sold internationally. As climate change has become more of a concern, the Prius’ popularity has continued to grow, and newer vehicles carry an estimated 58/53 mpg rating. Toyota has even introduced different models to the Prius line, including a plug-in option. Today, the Prius remains a popular car choice and has solidified its legacy as the vehicle responsible for popularizing hybrid cars among the general public and making them affordable for the average driver.