In a move sure to be embraced by environmentalists, a panel of trusted outside experts is finally recommending to federal regulators that light-duty diesel engines and hybrids should be regarded as available technologies to improve fuel economy. Neither of these technologies were included in a previous report released in 2001 when hybrids were not as mainstream as they are today and diesel emissions standards were lower than they are now.

The study is part of an initiative to meet the stricter standards set by our nation's new energy law enacted this past December. That measure calls for a 40-percent increase in both car and truck standards to a 35 mpg fleet average by 2020. While the addition of diesel and hybrid technology is welcomed news, the recommendation is embarrassingly behind the times (at least for hybrids) and this time around forgets to include all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]

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