Production of the Toyota Auris hybrid has begun in Britain.

Built in Europe for Europe

Can hybrids refuel England?

Assembly of the Toyota Auris hybrid has started in Burnaston, England. Likewise, Deeside, Wales is now also producing engines for the hybrid, the first hybrid engines to be produced outside of Japan according to the AFP.

While that’s great news for about 400 British workers, the real story is whether gasoline-hybrids can challenge diesel in Europe.

Obviously, hybrid technology is fuel independent and diesel hybrids are inevitable. For now, however, gasoline hybrids are cheaper to produce than diesel hybrids. Likewise, some in the auto industry believe that gasoline engines will eventually become as efficient as diesel engines. So, the gas versus diesel versus hybrid debate is certain to rage on for some time.

Nevertheless, can a European-made gasoline-hybrid covet a niche of turbo-loving diesel drivers?

Probably not, but pure urban commuters might find that the Auris hybrid can provide some very nice gains in fuel economy, especially in areas of high congestion – not to mention fewer, if any, congestion charges in cities such as London. Could become a very interesting story.