Volvos.

Photo by Shirley 501JFW/Wikimedia Commons.

Once preferred by sushi-eating, latte-drinking Hollywood-loving elitists, much like sushi, lattes, and Hollywood, they've now gone mainstream. U.S. sales of the Chinese-owned, Swedish-made vehicles grew by 18% last year, thanks to the most American of car models, an SUV (the popular XC90).  

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Heroes

1 obvious and 4 not-so-obvious reasons your next car should be electric.

Yes, they cut back on carbon dioxide. But why else are electric cars finally getting the attention they deserve?

If you're not one of the roughly 85% of Americans over age 16 with a driver's license, you've still probably ridden in a car or bus in the past week.

And even more importantly, you're probably pretty familiar with the impact automobiles have on our environment. The EPA estimates that the average passenger car emits nearly 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. For trucks and SUVs, that number goes up to over 13,500 pounds.

But what does a pound of carbon dioxide even mean? Well, the Natural Resources Defense Council put it nicely. "Filling a balloon with one pound of CO2 would swell the balloon to about the size of one of those rubber exercise balls that have become so popular lately. The balloon would be about two and a half feet across.

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NASCAR is right up there with football and baseball when it comes to sports Americans love.

Professional stock car racing is fast, thrilling, and a serious moneymaker. In 2012, NASCAR earned $3 billion in sponsorship money, more than double that of the NFL.

Breakneck speed and passionate fans are the cornerstone of this wildly popular sport.

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