Toyota has announced today that it’s aiming to increase sales of electric-hybrid vehicles by 40% this year, roughly equivalent to 430,000 cars. Last year, Toyota's hybrid sales rose 33% and with rising fuel prices set to continue this year, the company famous for building the Prius may just reach its ambitious goal.

Reuters is reporting that production of the Prius will increase this year by 40%, to meet the expected increase in demand. Currently, hybrids account for only 1% of sales in the US, but the launch of new models is expected to increase this figure.

Most of the European carmakers are developing new ultra-clean diesel powered cars that offer better mileage rates than the Prius hybrid and cost less to maintain. Toyota last November formed an equity tie-up with truck maker Isuzu to co-develop a new range of diesels in an effort to catch up. In 2005, the company bought a stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Subaru, to increase its production capacity in North America. Hopefully, this will lead to the introduction of a new diesel powered vehicle from Toyota to rival the Europeans.