In 2025, when the auto industry would be required to meet a 54.5-mile-per-gallon fuel economy target that the Obama administration is about to announce, the vehicles Americans buy may not look very different than those on the road today.
But what will be under the hood is another story, industry and environmental experts say.
From pickup trucks and SUVs to hybrids and subcompact cars, almost every vehicle sold in the United States will likely boast the kinds of advanced technology now confined to only the most fuel efficient.
While the new standard will be a big numerical step upward, experts say the secret to achieving it is not some huge breakthrough such as inventing a super battery or fuel made from bacteria. Rather, the key will be applying what’s already known or on the drawing boards to almost every vehicle, not just a relative handful.