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Hybrid-car movement picks up speed

But have U.S. automakers been left in the dust?

As Berkeley, Calif., goes, so -- eventually -- goes the nation. As frightening as this may sound to some, it's a fact borne out by history. Opposing the Vietnam War, spearheading ecological concerns, mandating energy-efficient buildings, banning smoking in public places, demanding equal access for the disabled -- these causes were all dismissed as "Berkeley radical thinking" in their time. Today, they've all long since been integrated into mainstream America. While some might still quibble with one or another of them, in retrospect, most of us would now regard these causes as honorable and thoroughly American. Today there's another revolution brewing in Berkeley, albeit a much quieter one. No matter where you look, the streets of this small university town are teeming with hybrid vehicles -- most of them made by Toyota, with a lesser number from Honda, and practically none, I'd point out, made by that blundering straggler, General Motors. If Berkeley proves as prescient ...

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