ONLINE PETITION STEERS U.S. AUTOMAKERS
TOWARD HYBRID AUTOS FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM
 
Natural Resources Defense Council Sets Earth Day 2000 Deadline for 100,000
Pledges to Buy Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Autos

http://www.nrdc.org/earthsmartcars

NEW YORK CITY (November 30, 1999) - Sending a bottom-line message to
Detroit in a powerful Internet petition, thousands of consumers are
pledging to buy earth-friendly, gasoline-electric "hybrid" cars if U.S.
automakers produce them.

The petition, part of the Natural Resources Defense Council's
"earthsmartcars" campaign (http://www.nrdc.org/earthsmartcars), represents
a new kind of online activism that lets concerned consumers wield their
pocketbooks as they express their opinions.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit organization
with more than 400,000 members nationwide dedicated to protecting the
world's natural resources and ensuring a safe and healthy environment.

"Think of it as a 'Field of Dreams' campaign," said Jacob Scherr, NRDC
senior attorney. "Auto makers won't get really serious about building
hybrid cars unless they think there's a market for them. We're going to
show them that the demand exists. Both Honda and Toyota are about to sell
hybrid cars here, and U.S. automakers are fully capable of  building such
vehicles with performance, convenience, and price comparable to today's
cars."

Hybrid cars pair a gasoline engine with an electric motor that recharges as
the cars are driven. Hybrid car owners don't need recharging equipment or
extra stops at recharging stations. They refuel their cars at ordinary gas
stations - although with fuel economy averaging 60 miles to the gallon,
drivers need to make far fewer trips to the pump.

More importantly, hybrid cars produce only a fraction of the pollution
spewed out by conventional cars.  The average car currently produces 11,000
pounds of pollutants every year, significantly contributing to global
warming, acid rain, and serious health problems such as high asthma and
cancer rates and impaired respiratory and immune systems, particularly in
children.

"Putting this petition online reminds us that while America is the
technological pacesetter in areas like the computer industry, Detroit
remains stalled with reliance on old-fashioned, inherently dirty and
wasteful internal combustion engines," said Scherr. "This campaign intends
to quick-start the transformation to the next generation of much cleaner,
more efficient vehicles, which we have dubbed 'earthsmartcars.'"

About the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a nonprofit organization of
scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting
the world's natural resources and ensuring a safe and healthy environment.
Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 400,000 members nationwide, served by
offices in NewYork, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
 
Contact:
Michael Kaminer, michael@mkpr.com
Gretchen Griffin, gretchen@mkpr.com
Michael Kaminer Public Relations, 212.627.8098