Environmentalists have long castigated aerosol sprays because of their effect on the ozone layer. So here's a story about how the aerosol concept can actually help the environment.

In this case, it's Detroit-based Nostrum Motors, which is working on an aerosol-like fuel-injection system that the company says can boost fuel economy relative to conventional injection systems by about 20 percent, Wards Auto says. Even with the additional cost factored in, the company says the system can pay for itself in two years thanks to lower refueling costs.

The system was developed by Nirmal Mulye, head of Nostrum Motors parent Nostrum Pharmaceuticals. After being "inspired" by his old '76 Camaro and its gas-guzzling ways, Mulye developed the injection system while moonlighting during the development of his drug company. Mulye has brought on ex-Big Three executive Bruce Coventry to run Nostrum Motors and says Michigan Technological University is among those testing out the new system. Nostrum Motors is also working on an engine it says may be able to achieve fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon because its internal cooling system may eliminate the need for a radiator. That product could be developed by the end of the decade.