The president of northern Italy’s Lombardy region, Roberto Formigoni, proposed on Sunday that only eco-friendly vehicles be sold in the region by as early as 2005. He hopes gas-electric hybrid vehicles and, later, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles can help eliminate the region’s pollution woes. Smog levels in Lombardy have recently surged to five times the legally permitted amounts; the region’s capital, Milan, has been covered in haze for much of the winter. Vehicles have been banned across Lombardy on three Sundays since December, and last week, authorities ordered cars, motorcycles, and trucks off the roads on alternate days — but pollution problems persist.

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