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Americans want alternative to oil

October 23, 2004 11:08 IST

With the global price of crude oil hovering above $55 per barrel, the demand for a wide array of alternative energy sources - from wind turbines to corn oil used in cars - has gone up in the United States, according to a media report.

The alternative-energy movement is now moving well beyond the novelty phase and has become ingrained in the nation's power grid and in middle-class homes as technologies improve, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Consumer demand has made Toyota predict an increase in sale of its Prius hybrid cars to nearly 100,000 in the United States next year.

Even solar panels and windmills, often associated with the Jimmy Carter cardigan sweater days, are showing up in more suburban neighbourhoods and other unexpected places.

Although alternative fuels still make up a small fraction of US energy supplies, they are growing at a 30% rate compared with 4% for oil and 6% for natural gas, the report said.

The projects are especially popular among states with governors opening up new wind farms and farm-belt ethanol refineries. The competitiveness, combined with congressional renewal of a key tax credit, has made firms sign contracts to build new wind farms.

"This is a period of high fossil-fuel costs and low-interest rates, which gives renewable energy an advantage unlike it's had over the last 20 to 25 years," George Sterzinger, executive director of the Renewable Energy Policy Project in Washington, said.
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