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Driverless cars have a dirty downside, says US study

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor says autonomous cars could reverse years-long trend of declining fuel use

Washington

DRIVERLESS cars better be able to refuel themselves. They'll consume more energy than cars with drivers.

That's the somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion in a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. They say that autonomous cars could reverse a years-long trend of declining fuel consumption.

At least a half-dozen car and technology companies, from General Motors to Google, are developing the futuristic vehicles, which would be guided by sensors and satellite positioning. Baidu Inc, the Beijing-based search-engine company, has said it could have a model on the road this year.

Here's how they'd use more energy than conventional cars: more trips. In most households,...

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