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Yesterday marked the opening of the Sexy Green Auto Show at the Eden Project bio theme park in Cornwall, UK. It's a display meant to demonstrate that "green" cars (like the Ford Focus Flexi Fuel bio-ethanol number at right) don't have to fit the clunky Birkenstock stereotype. As the Guardian notes,

[T]he main task of the world's first exhibition of eco-conscious autos...is to convince us at least to give them a spin. This is no easy job. The range of green cars remains very limited and could never be described as sexy. ...

Still, manufacturers are finally trying to make their green machines mean as well. From next year we will be able to buy the Tesla Roadster, an electric-powered sports car developed by Lotus. If consumers show more appetite for green cars, manufacturers will respond. And the imperative for us to rethink our transport system grows. As yesterday's exhibition opened, it was announced that UK emissions of greenhouse gases actually rose last year. The biggest source of carbon emissions remains transport. If we won't give up our cars we need to make them less harmful to the planet. Not sexy, perhaps, but true.

Of course, sex appeal is in the eye of the beholder. And in certain circles, arriving in a Prius (or, better yet, on a ten-speed) is more likely to get you a second date than pulling up in a Camaro.

But Americans are even less likely than Europeans to get out of their cars altogether, and the Guardian is right that consumer demand will have to drive innovation. Next week, the New York International Auto Show will come to the Javits Center, and Streetsblog will be there to report on the offerings -- among which are a few "alternative fuel" options. We'll let you know what we find and whether or not it turns us on.

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