The growing crisis in Western Europe stemming from the high price of oil will provide a boost to research into alternative fuels for automotive applications says just-auto.com. Blockades of oil depots and refineries have spread this week, as truckers, farmers and taxi drivers across Europe have sought to protest about the level of gasoline prices. High levels of fuel taxation in Europe have been a focus for the action, which has been triggered by a steep rise in the price of oil traded in international markets.

However, it is extremely unlikely that the long-term price of gasoline to the final customer in Europe will be permitted to decline. Leaving aside the vagaries of international oil markets, regulators will almost certainly be drawn to maintaining a high pump price for environmental and fiscal reasons. Alternative fuels and technology such as hybrid (gasoline-electric), electric battery, compressed natural gas, liquid petroleum gas and ethanol, all of which have disadvantages, have been attracting much attention, but in the longer term there are high hopes for the fuel cell.

just-auto.com Managing Editor, David Leggett commented: "Whatever OPEC does, it seems pretty clear that gasoline prices are not going to be coming down substantially. Work on alternative fuels will be encouraged by all of this."

In Europe, Toyota has now offered the gasoline-electric Prius hybrid for sale. To read more about the hybrid please click on this link www.just-auto.com/news_detail.asp?art=13684

Also, Toyota Motor Corp. plans to open a network of dealer and recycling centres across Europe to handle its 'green' Prius vehicle. Visit www.just-auto.com/news_detail.asp?art=13768 for full report.

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