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Get Ready for Less Boring Green Cars

Until now green cars have had all the sex appeal of a Birkenstock sandal, but carmakers are beginning to change that

Everybody wants clean air, but the increasing public and political clamor to cut greenhouse gases and raise fuel efficiency is giving the world's automakers an ulcer.

Executives in Detroit, Toyoda City, Stuttgart, and Turin are passing the Prilosec because times are already tough enough for the auto industry. Stricter standards for CO2 emissions in Europe and a new 35-mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard in the U.S. mean they have to sort out which alternative fuels hold the best solutions, in terms of cost, technology, regulations, and customer acceptance. And they have to pay for it out of their increasingly dwindling profits.