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Green cars may offset costly fuel

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Car manufacturers are hoping their new environmentally friendly technologies will help to offset the impact of rising fuel prices.

Surging oil prices in the wake of political turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East have underlined the dangers faced by the motor industry in sticking with fossil fuels.

However, leading brands such as Toyota, Fiat and Ford are confident that their latest eco-friendly models on display at the Geneva Auto Show could dampen the influence of spiralling prices.

The event is showcasing a number of new green vehicles including electric, hybrid and more efficient conventional engines. Such models could also help to keep car insurance premiums low.

Stephen Odell, the chief of Ford Europe, said: "I remember the auto show of two years ago. Pretty grim.

"I think we are in a better place. I don't think the industry learned a lot of lessons from 2008. They will this time around."

Commenting on the impact of rising fuel cost, Opel chief Nick Reilly said it would make the situation "clearly more difficult".

Meanwhile Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said an oil price of 150 dollars a barrel "would be very heavy".

© Press Association 2011