Technologies That Will Get Automakers To 54.5 MPG
July 29, 2011
by Martin LaMonica
The stringent fuel economy standards announced today will make existing auto technologies, such as start-stop hybrids, commonplace and push the industry to cut the cost of electric vehicles.
President Obama today unveiled new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards which will require automakers to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The national agreement, which builds on a landmark compromise deal from 2009, will reduce oil imports, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and save consumers on average $8,000 per vehicle by 2025, the White House said in a statement.
The new standards are considered aggressive--the average fuel economy for cars and light trucks this year is 27.3 miles per gallon--but automakers said that they are achievable with a combination of design improvements and emerging technologies.
"While future fuel economy targets are ambitious, the proposed CAFE rule represents a national approach and provides regulatory certainty for our industry. The proposed rule includes flexibility that recognizes consumer needs and potential changes in technology and economic conditions," General Motors said in a statement.
Rather than a dramatic shift to electric vehicles, the standards will prod automakers to consider technologies not yet used en masse, such as alternative engine designs or microhybrids. Least visible to consumers will be improvements to internal combustion engines and lighter vehicles. Traditional hybrids, which couple a gasoline engine with an electric motor, and diesels are poised for broader use as well.
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