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The Dirty Secret About Clean Cars

Automakers Push Flex-Fuel Vehicles, Get Around Efficiency Standards

President Bush enjoyed a high-profile photo-op Monday with the heads of the Big Three automakers and their latest clean-car models. The impressive lineup included a General Motors model that can run on ethanol, a plug-in Ford powered by hydrogen, and a DaimlerChrysler Jeep filled with a biodiesel blend.

It was smiles all around as the automakers announced they would make half of America's vehicles ethanol-ready by 2012. "If you want to reduce gasoline usagelike I believe we need to do so for national-security reasons as well as for environmental concernsthe consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice," said a beaming Bush.

But there's a dirty secret about clean cars. The policies for flexible-fuel vehiclesthose that can run on mixtures of gasoline and more than 10 percent ethanolare written in such a way that they result in a number of unintended consequences. Complete Story