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Wednesday, 13 September, 2000, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Crisis fuels search for alternatives
Car crusher
End of the line for the petrol engine?
Electric vehicle makers have reported a big increase in interest as the fuel blockade continues to bite.

Electric bicycle manufacturer, Powabyke, said it has been "inundated" with calls from businesses desperate to ensure that their staff will still be able to get out and about.

Powabyke said companies across the UK were waking up to the fact, that unless deliveries and essential appointments are kept, the knock-on consequences of the dispute will be severe.

It said that its bicycles, which allow the rider petrol-free powered cycling, have been snapped up by anxious managers determined to beat the blockades.

Easy Riders

A local radio station, Bath FM, has taken a bike on loan to allow its roving reporters unimpeded access to breaking stories all over the city.

And Lancashire Police have reinforced the strong arm of the law with a fleet of six Powabykes.

Green campaigners have called the protest an opportunity, whilst maintaining their stance that fuel prices should be kept high, in order to reduce "greenhouse" effect gases.

Robin Harper
Robin Harper MSP - Green opportunity?
Scottish Green MSP, Robin Harper said: "We very much hope the government does not cave in."

"High fuel prices are essential to make sure it is used efficiently."

Instead of demanding price cuts, the Greens want campaigning bodies like the Renewable Energy Forum and the Alternative Fuels Consortium to use the crisis to emphasise our dependency on petrol.

Electric - the future

Meanwhile, the Electrical Vehicles Association said that almost a half of journeys - under 50 miles - are possible by electric car, with today's technology.

EV's could happen now without a doubt

Gerry Woolf - Electrical Vehicles Association

The association spokesman, Gerry Woolf, who drives an electric Peugeot 106 every day said: "EV's could happen now without a doubt. "Last week in the US, the California air resources board, which set up the zero emission mandate, ratified the decision for implementation by 2003.
Powerbyke - trike
No petrol required

"I am in Phoenix Arizona this week and here you get a huge tax rebate if you buy an EV."

Advocates for electric cars assert that advances in battery technology, thanks to work on mobile phones and laptops, mean batteries can be recharged in minutes.

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See also:

13 Sep 00 | Scotland
Anger erupts as fuel crisis bites
13 Sep 00 | Scotland
Greens backing Blair stance
13 Sep 00 | Scotland
Fishermen support fuel protest
12 Sep 00 | Talking Point
Are we too dependent on oil?
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