Green Car Technology Doesn't Come Cheap

Everything sounds simple in theory. Imposing higher average gas mileage standards on the auto industry will force automakers to build more fuel efficient vehicles. Consumers save money on gas, the US rids itself of its oil dependency, so it seems like a win-win situation.

The only problem that arises of this deal is that automakers will have to put costly new technology in their cars to meet new regulations and the consumers will probably be the ones that actually pay for the fuel savings. With manufacturers claiming fuel economy improvements of around 10-20% in their new cars, will that be enough to cover the money put into research?

To catch a glimpse of the future, USA Today gathered top executives from five major automakers – GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Mazda, and Volkswagen – at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show. They ended up envisioning a more fuel-efficient, feature filled, but slightly smaller and less powerful vehicle that will probably be more expensive than the average consumer can afford.

The changes imposed are now irreversible, but the industry seems to be scampering into another crisis. As automakers struggle to recover from the worst financial implosion in generations, they battle among themselves for their share of the market spending even more money on advertising and market research.

Since redesigning existing engines and other changes won't be enough, automakers are putting top dollars into investigating and field testing all other options, from electric vehicles to hydrogen power.

No matter what the new technology is, it will surely cost more, adding an unnecessary burden on the consumers' shoulders.
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