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Consumers Demand Clean Cars Environmental Groups Rally at Entrance of North American International Auto Show in Detroit (January 5, 2001-Detroit, MI) . . . On Sunday, January 7, 2001 at the entry drive to the North American International Auto Show an EVent of a different sort occured; one meant to capture the attention of the "Big Three" automakers. Honda Insight and Toyota Prius owners drove their convoy of environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrid cars in a continuous loop in front of Cobo Hall, drawing attention to the need for American auto manufacturers to build cleaner cars, and the growing demand for them on the part of consumers.

At 10:30am in the Plaza Room A & B at the Ponchartrain Hotel (Larned at Shelby Street) a press conference was hosted by a coalition of environmental groups united under the Green Car Campaign http://greencar.. Prominent environmentalists from national and Michigan-based organizations (Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists and the Michigan Environmental Council) offered information on where American auto manufacturers stand in regard to producing environmentally superior autos that are practical and affordable. They l also discussed the impact of American Auto Companies(Big 3) not having these vehicles available, will have on the U.S. marketplace..<

"Cleaner car technologies are primed and ready to go," said Jason Mark, Clean Vehicles Program director at Union of Concerned Scientists. "With the Japanese carmakers' hybrids enjoying brisk sales, one wonders, 'Where are the American automakers?

Waiting lists for the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, the only hybrids currently available, are up to six months long. Displaying growing demand for environmental choice, a coalition of 18 environmental organizations collected over 150,000 signatures from people challenging automakers to produce cleaner vehicles. The pledges call for automobiles that deliver 50 percent better fuel efficiency when compared to other vehicles in the same class, meet California's super-ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV) standard for smog-forming pollution and are cleanly manufactured using non-toxic, recyclable materials.?"

"These "pledgers" are challenging auto makers to offer appealing vehicles that meet the standard in every market segment. They represent the tip of the iceberg of consumer demand for cleaner vehicle choices," said Kevin Mills, a senior attorney with Environmental Defense.

Owner/drivers of the morning's convoy were available to discuss their experience with the new hybrid vehicles as well as offer interested media a test ride.