DETROIT -- If President Barack Obama's proposed fuel economy standards become law, expect cars to carry more expensive technology and higher price tags.
The president's goal is to boost the fuel economy of the nation's fleet of cars and light trucks to 35.5 mpg by 2016 while reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 250 grams per mile.
The EPA and Department of Transportation issued the first 16 pages of the proposed new standards following Obama's speech today. Both agencies believe automakers already have perfected much of the technology to meet the stricter standards.
Gasoline direct injection, an efficient fuel-injection system just now making its way into mainstream vehicles. It improves fuel economy about 6 percent by precisely delivering the optimum amount of fuel in a specific place in the cylinder.
Downsized turbocharged engines. General Motors, Ford Motor Co., BMW AG, Audi AG and others are using turbochargers on smaller engines to reduce weight while preserving the performance of a big engine. Ford's EcoBoost system, for example, replaces a V-8 with a V-6. The fuel economy gain can be as much as 20 percent. But the cost is high: $1,000 to $3,000 per vehicle.
Advanced transmissions. Dual-clutch transmissions, continuously variable transmissions, and automatics with five speeds and six speeds are replacing manuals and four-speed automatics. The fuel-economy gain ranges from 5 to 10 percent, depending on the vehicle. The cost is at least $500.
Stop-start systems. These are used on mild hybrids such as the Saturn Vue, and Aura and the Chevrolet Malibu. The slight boost provided on acceleration helps deliver a fuel economy gain of around 20 percent, for about $2,000.