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Software firm: Buy fuel-efficient car, get $5,000

Hyperion is giving its employees the dough if they buy cars that get 45 miles per gallon and meet a strict emissions standard.

Software company Hyperion Solutions is giving its employees good reason to go green when they buy a car.

In a move that combines corporate citizenship with good public relations, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will reimburse employees to the tune of $5,000 if they buy a car that gets 45 miles per gallon and meets a strict emissions standard.

Godfrey Sullivan, Hyperion's chief executive, says the effort is partly about attracting new employees, as well as establishing a good reputation. "It's important to me that Hyperion be known as a company with a strong sense of social responsibility," he said.

Sullivan himself drives a Mercedes but said he has ordered a Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle that is powered by a combination of a gasoline-consuming engine and electricity.

Hyperion sells so-called business performance management software and has about 2,500 employees worldwide. Some 1,500 workers are in the United States. The company is setting aside $1 million a year for the program, which will allow 50 workers per quarter to snag the subsidy.

For now in the United States, only a few vehicles qualify for the program, according to the company. The Toyota Prius is one. Two hybrids from Honda also make the grade, according to Hyperion.

The company hopes to encourage other firms to join its clean-driving campaign. It has launched a group called Companies for Clean Air Consortium, and plans to share what it learns in its initiative.

Sullivan said dozens of employees had e-mailed him Monday morning about the offer. Although the splashy program is giving Hyperion some publicity, Sullivan said it is a sincere effort to improve the environment. "The publicity will die out by tomorrow or the next day," he said. "The program will live on for years."