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The Advanced Vehicle Innovations group formed in north central Washington in 2005 to promote the development and deployment of flex-fuel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the Pacific Northwest. Such vehicles are propelled by a combination of electricity from the grid (generated from hydropower) and biofuels (biodiesel and ethanol).

Its long-range objectives are to:

• lower long-term operating costs for public and private transportation in the region

• reduce the leakage of transportation-fuel dollars from the region

• insulate the local economy from unstable fuel prices by increasing the region’s energy ­independence, and

• serve as a model for other areas in Washington State and the nation. —G. Warner