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The government needs to boost efforts to promote low-pollution cars, according to an interim report released by a panel under the Environment Agency on Friday.

There were only 29,000 low-pollution cars, such as electric, gas and hybrid engine cars, on the road as of the end of fiscal 1998 — far below the target of 300,000 vehicles by 2000 set by a 1992 law intended to reduce nitrogen oxide concentrations in the air.

The report says the higher price of clean cars and a lack of infrastructure to support them are major factors limiting their acceptance.

The report calls for further consideration of regulatory policies — including those for mandatory introduction, production, sales and fuel supply for such vehicles — by manufacturers and companies.

Economic mechanisms, such as subsidies and tax incentives, will also be considered by the panel, which will release a more definitive set of recommendations by December, officials said.

Nitrogen oxide is associated with respiratory disorders, such as asthma.

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