Call it a kind of automotive Manhattan project, or just Big Govt helping private industry. According to the Detroit News, the US Environmental Protection Agency has developed a hybrid system that could give the country's automakers a market boost against Japanese rivals. The technology uses hydraulics to recapture energy lost via braking as pressure, which is released during acceleration (kind of like those air rockets you once broke Mr. Einhart's window with). The agency says a hydraulic hybrid-drive system could improve fuel economy by 55 percent, and may be less costly than its gas-electric counterparts. Of course, your mileage may vary.
EPA turns innovator with hydraulic hybrids [The Detroit News]
LG, LS, LHyundai Team Up for Korean Hybrids [internal]