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Photos: From gas guzzler to green extreme

Engineering professor turns an SUV and a family sedan into ultra-efficient driving machines.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor on
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1 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Hybrid Suburban

What makes this Chevy Suburban different from most? It runs on a hybrid engine that gets its electricity from plugging into a wall outlet. Professor Andrew Frank built it at the University of California at Davis and has tested it on GM's off-road tracks.

Plug-in hybrids use less gas and consequently can get about 100 miles per gallon. However, it will take years before they become widespread.

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2 of 2 Bill Detwiler/ZDNET

Hybrid Sable

A Mercury Sable retrofitted with one of Frank's hybrid systems. The car can also run on ethanol and solar-generated electricity, freeing it up from fossil fuels entirely. The stickers are optional.

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