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In this paper, we propose to apply Contention-Based Forwarding (CBF) to Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs). CBF is a greedy position-based forwarding algorithm that does not require proactive transmission of beacon messages. CBF performance is analyzed using realistic movement patterns of vehicles on a highway. We show by means of simulation that CBF as well as traditional position-based routing (PBR) achieve a delivery rate of almost 100 given that connectivity exists. However, CBF has a much lower forwarding overhead than PBR since PBR can achieve high delivery ratios only by implicitly using a trial-and-error next-hop selection strategy. With CBF, a better total throughput can be achieved. We further discuss several optimizations of CBF for its use in VANETs, in particular a new position-encoding scheme that naturally allows for communication paradigms such as `street geocast` and `street flooding`. The discussions show that CBF can be viewed as a concept for convergence of intelligent flooding, geocast, and multi-hop forwarding in the area of inter-vehicle communication.