Fuel economy: Big leap for efficiency, not hybrids
Fuel economy is headed to an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. But higher fuel economy standards won't force an end to the gasoline engine.
WASHINGTON/DETROIT – Automakers have agreed to produce by the quarter-century mark the most fuel- efficient cars and trucks ever that will leverage new designs and technology, but still rely heavily on gasoline engines.Skip to next paragraph
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A blueprint announced on Friday by President Barack Obama would boost fuel economy requirements 53 percent by 2025. This target is unlikely, as some suppose, to prompt a dramatic ramp up in production of electric cars and hybrids, which are only a fraction of the U.S. sales market.
Bell, automakers and other experts say industry will accelerate development of cleaner burning gas engines, enhanced transmission systems, lighter materials -- like stronger steel and alloys -- and more aerodynamic designs.
These changes are already taking place as is a shift toward production of small cars to meet consumer demand and new government mandates in an era of high gas prices.
In particular, U.S. automakers, led by Ford Motor Co, have been working feverishly on making those changes after long over-relying on gas-guzzling trucks, SUVs and minivans. Big trucks, including full-size pickups, will have the hardest time meeting the new goals.
Manganello, whose company makes turbochargers and other engine technologies, noted that getting better fuel economy, undoubtedly comes at a higher cost to automakers.
The backdrop for Obama's announcement at the Washington Convention Center included a General Motors Co Chevrolet Cruze, a 4-cylinder compact that is the resurgent U.S. automaker's best-selling car. Not present was GM's mostly electric Volt sedan, a production novelty GM promotes in Washington to draw attention to its efforts on fuel economy.