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Meeting 2025 fuel standards called possible

Meeting the government’s aggressive fuel economy standards by 2025 will require a combination of technologies that exist today, assuming they continue to evolve, engineering experts at supplier Ricardo say.

But much of it will depend on consumers. They must migrate to smaller vehicles in greater numbers, says the team at Ricardo, who analyzed current and future fuel-savings technologies Friday at the Van Buren Township research center.

The company had a contract with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the feasibility of the 2025 model year target of an average 54.5 m.p.g. That translates to about a 63% improvement over the efficiency of today’s new vehicle fleet.

“It’s a tremendous challenge,” said Tom Apostolos, president of Ricardo America. It will require a lot of innovation right down to the smallest gasket or piston ring.

“No single technology will achieve 54.5 m.p.g.,” said Mark Kuhn, manager of Ricardo Strategic Consulting. “We won’t see a lot of new technology in the next 10-15 years. Instead, it will be a rollout of existing technology.”

Most solutions are in production, but in relatively small quantities.
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