A gasoline-electric hybrid car has taken centre stage at a rally organised by sustainable energy groups in the U-S.
The Honda Insight has an electric engine and has the world's best fuel economy for a mass-produced gasoline-powered vehicle.
The Tour de Sol rally takes place every year during Clean Air Week.
The U-S's first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle- the Honda Insight- is the official pace car for this year's Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Tour de Sol road rally.
The rally pits the country's cleanest-running, most fuel-efficient cars, trucks and buses in a 250-mile event from New York City to Washington D-C during Clean Air Week, May 12-18.
The Tour de Sol rally is organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, the N-E-S-E-A.
The N-E-S-E-A is the U-S's leading regional association involved in promoting awareness, understanding and development of non-polluting, renewable technologies.
" The most important environmental decision that a consumer can make today is to look towards their transportation - look towards an earth friendly vehicle. Transportation has a larger environmental impact and is a larger user of oil than any other particular sector- whether its electrical utility companies or buildings. So this introduction of the gasoline - electric hybrid vehicle by Honda- and Toyota will too be soon bringing a similar vehicle to market- is really historic, and its extremely important for consumers to think about these vehicles when they are considering buying a new car."
SUPER CAPTION: Dorothy Stims, Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
In addition to the Insight pace car, a dozen owner-driven Insights also participated in the event.
They competed against a field of 50 alternative-fuel vehicles, including manufacturer-built prototypes and futuristic student-designed concepts.
Launched in December 1999, the Insight is certified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle and includes 300 patent-pending features.
"The Insight is really the first 'Super Car'. It's lightweight, very aerodynamic and it has a hybrid power train. What that means is that we use a small gasoline engine and an electric motor for a system, so the performance is great. You get 70 miles per gallon and the beauty of it is that it never needs to be charged - it never needs to be plugged in."
SUPER CAPTION: Robert Bienenfeld, manager of Advanced Environmental Vehicles for Honda, U-S
The Insight has the world's best fuel economy for a mass-produced gasoline-powered automobile.
Each Insight used less than four gallons of fuel for the entire 250-mile event.
Its electric motor is powered by a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack, which is charged by the gasoline engine and by recapturing the vehicle's momentum during braking.
As a result, the Insight does not require an outside source of electric power and never needs to be plugged in.