On a smaller scale, energy storage technologies are being used for vehicles in the form of batteries. Today, the United States imports the majority of its oil; most of the U.S. transportation sector relies on petroleum; fuel consumption is rising and production is expected to peak within a matter of years. Recognizing that depletion of a finite resource is on the horizon, researchers are exploring alternative ways to run our vehicles to reduce gasoline consumption. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which use energy storage technology to make cars more efficient by downsizing engines and using regenerative braking, are an excellent way to decrease gasoline consumption. Recent research has focused on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs that use the electrical grid to charge their batteries, with the goal of eventually being able to feed unused energy back into the grid. Technical barriers for the development of advanced batteries include cost, performance, life and durability.
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