Electric and vegetable oil eco-power was the focus of a Birmingham showcase of vehicles of the future yesterday.
The Green Light Motor Show, organised by Shropshire-based Marches Energy Agency, featured fuels that manufacturers believe will replace petrol and diesel as fossil fuels run out.
Vehicles included a hybrid car, electric vans, a diesel car converted to run on vegetable oil and a minibus powered by biogas created from food waste.
The event, held at the Aston Science Park, was part of a Midlands conference aimed at highlighting alternative vehicles to the public sector.
Councillor Les Kyles, chairman of the West Midlands Planning & Transport Sub-Committee, said: "This is a tremendous initiative, and one which the West Midlands is proud to host."
Mr Kyles added that, in the West Midlands, only Worcester City Council had added non-fossil fuel powered vehicles to their fleet.
He said: "All authorities have a responsibility to safeguard the environment and, if this is one way to do it, we should be looking at it.
"It is up to the manufacturers to sell the idea to the authorities."
Richard Davies, director of the Marches Energy Agency, said: "Transport is the fastest growing user of our energy, already accounting for about a third of consumption.
"Unless action is taken now, this figure will continue to rise.
"However, transport is the most technically difficult sector in which to reduce
carbon emissions – and the most politically difficult too."
The conference was attended by leading figures from councils, trade unions
and universities, fleet operators and environmentalists.
Coventry-based Modec – which was demonstrating its zero-emissions, electric Modec van at the event – said the tide was turning for environmentally friendly transport.
Gordon Harvey, national sales manager for Modec, said the van had received a tremendous reception at the NEC's commercial vehicle show in April.
The firm has already secured forward orders for all the vans due to be produced in the first quarter of 2007.
"Green issues are starting to come to the fore," Mr Harvey said.
"We've had customers from various areas from home delivery companies, construction firms, inner-city delivery businesses – particularly firms wanting to avoid congestion charges."
Mr Harvey added that customers also needed going green to make business sense.
"Our vehicles are equivalent to a diesel van in costs. You can't tell customers to go green if its going to cost twice as much – they will just tell you to take a long walk off a short cliff. You have got to be within the ballpark of your competitors."