Where will fuel consumption and economy be in 15 years -- and beyond?

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Author's Note: Where will fuel consumption and economy be in 15 years -- and beyond?

As implied by the article, my research tended to focus on the 2025 energy benchmarks, simply because that's when we'll have measurable results of success or failure in our initiatives, and that's how most of the available information happens to be presented. But it got me thinking about 2025 in general, and how much the world will have changed by then. Though fuel economy for transportation is crucial in terms of immediately reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and the adverse effects on the environment, there's a lot more to energy policy than the way we drive our cars. I'm no saint -- I've done my fair share of modifying cars for performance and pushing the limits of a press vehicle here and there. As the auto industry changes, it might be for the betterment of society, but there's no telling if it'll strip the joy from the actual drive itself. If cars do all the work for us, maybe, gradually, cars will seem less like possessions that are an extension of one's personality or a lifestyle statement. Even just a few years ago, I'd have recoiled in horror at such a notion, but the energy situation is getting dire. Getting older doesn't mean I've outgrown the urge to whomp on a supercar when the opportunity is presented (and I wouldn't turn my nose up at a hybrid McLaren), but I'm gradually seeing more of the big picture.

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  • Gitlin, Jonathan M. "More bang, less buck: How car engine tech does more with less." Ars Technica. Oct.1, 2012. (Aug. 11, 2013) http://arstechnica.com/features/2012/10/more-bang-less-buck-how-car-engines-now-go-further-on-less/
  • Gitlin, Jonathan M. "My car is smarter than me - and I get better gas mileage for it." Ars Technica. Oct. 15, 2012. (Aug. 11, 2013) http://arstechnica.com/features/2012/10/my-car-is-becoming-smarter-than-me/
  • Gitlin, Jonathan M. and Niemeyer, Kyle. "The road ahead: How we'll get to 54.5 mpg by 2025." Ars Technica. Oct. 8, 2012. (Aug. 11, 2013) http://arstechnica.com/features/2012/10/the-road-ahead-how-well-get-to-54-5-mpg-by-2025/
  • The White House. "Obama Administration Finalizes Historic 54.5 MPG Fuel Efficiency Standards." Aug. 28, 2012. (Aug. 16, 2013) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/28/obama-administration-finalizes-historic-545-mpg-fuel-efficiency-standard
  • Webster, Larry. "Obama's Fuel Economy Rules - Why 54.5 Mpg Doesn't Really Mean 54.5." Popular Mechanics. Sept. 6, 2011. (Aug. 16, 2013) http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/news/fuel-economy/obamas-fuel-economy-rules-why-54-5-mpg-doesnt-really-mean-54-5
  • Witzenburg, Gary. "Future Fuel Economy Mandates, Part I: 54.5 mpg is going to be hard to reach." Autoblog Green. Jan. 26, 2012. (Aug. 16, 2013) http://green.autoblog.com/2012/01/26/future-fuel-economy-mandates-part-i-54-5-mpg-is-going-to-be-ha/

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