U.S. Supercars: Around the Corner, or Running on Empty?

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Science  30 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5428, pp. 680-682
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5428.680

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GOLDEN, COLORADO-- A collaboration between automakers and the federal government to develop high-mileage, low-emission cars is set to unveil its first prototypes--probably diesel-electric hybrids--next year. However, critics charge that the program is betting on the wrong technologies by emphasizing polluting diesel engines instead of potentially cleaner technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells; others question why the government is subsidizing the effort when Toyota has already built a fuel cell car on its own dime (see sidebar). Moreover, with the United States' current low gas prices, observers don't expect to see consumers cruising in the new supercars anytime soon.