LETTER : Hybrid cars are not enough Hybrid cars won't be cheap

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Of the socially undesirable consequences of inappropriate car use, David Bowen addresses only pollution in cities in his feature on hybrid cars ("Which way next?", Business, 25 August). He ignores the contribution they make to global warming and the way streets are made unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. Systems introduced to avoid traffic jams encourage rat-running, and will only work by increasing the danger on those roads which are - for the time being - quieter.

Most of the technologies enthused over will be much more expensive than today's, even if, or when, similar economies of scale are achieved. The hybrid car user will have to pay the production and running costs of two engines and batteries, while the fuel cell users will have to pay to electrolyse, compress and transport the hydrogen to drive their cars. For these technologies to become widely used, many current car drivers will be priced off the roads.

Tim Lund

London SE15