21st-Century Fuel Economy Is The Star Of The Detroit Auto Show

The 40 mpg 2013 Dodge Dart.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public this weekend, advances in fuel economy are taking center stage. Thanks to aggressive leadership by the Obama administration, working in concert with the state of California and the unions and carmakers of the American auto industry, fuel economy standards are zooming toward an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. A Detroit Free Press editorial reports that the new fuel economy standards have breathed new life into American automobile manufacturers, spurring them to innovate new technologies and new styles. Their new cars — which reduce our vulnerability to the whims of Big Oil and lessen dangerous pollution — will be able to compete on the international stage, which has much higher standards for fuel efficiency:

Against the backdrop of the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Saturday, anything seems possible, including fuel efficiencies that seemed out of reach just a few years ago. The stylish introductions focused as much on engine and power configurations (hybrid, plug-in, turbocharged, direct injection, etc.) and weight-savings as they did on appearance.

“This year’s auto show proves beyond all doubt that fuel efficiency is no longer just a euphemism for ‘econobox,'” writes the Detroit Free Press. “With the long-term planning horizon offered by the new fuel efficiency rules, automakers can do far more than survive. They can thrive, they can do it with style and — most important to everyone around here — build the cars that people want to buy.”

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