From the Christian Science Monitor: Race to make clean, fuel-sipping cars revs up
A global competition to build cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars is moving into a new and serious phase. In the past two weeks:
- Honda announced a new-generation diesel engine with so few emissions that it meets even California's tough clean-air standards, while getting 30 percent better mileage than an equivalent gasoline- powered vehicle. It plans to sell it in the US in 2009.
- General Motors said it would lease more than 100 hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles by next fall and sell them in volume by 2011.
- Daimler-Chrysler's Chrysler group said it would shift its emphasis from brawny truck-based vehicles to small cars, including 10 new fuel-sipping models.
"What we're seeing is a race that's been going on for a while, but is really heating up now," says Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal in San Luis Obispo, Calif. "All the automakers are vying to bring out technology that is much cleaner and gets much better mileage."
The push for cleaner, more efficient cars is powered by two forces: the rise in gasoline prices, of course, and new emissions regulations.