Hard Choices Ahead for Carmakers

If no changes were made to SUVs or trucks, automakers would need to almost double their cars' fuel efficiency to about 52 mpg to meet the Senate standard.

Published: 15-Jul-2007

Getting there from here by then won't be easy.

Automakers are filling up on innovations that boost miles per gallon, but worry they can't run on what U.S. lawmakers may try to stuff down their tank: a 40% increase in average fuel economy by 2020.

They're scrambling to figure out how to do it and already scrapping some big-vehicle plans. One example: General Motors (NYSE:BGM) GM is ditching plans for its luxury Cadillac Sixteen to refocus on fuel efficiency.


As high fuel prices turn car buyers away from large family sedans, it's the smaller, cheaper four cylinder vehicles attracting drivers.

The system operates from the Calor Gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane that is already on board for cooking. The system will fit comfortably in an aft locker, normally used for a conventional generator.

The Cadillac Provoq fuel cell concept uses GM's E-Flex propulsion system, combining the new fifth-generation fuel cell system and a lithium-ion battery to produce an electrically driven vehicle that uses no petroleum and has no emission other than water.


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