There's no doubt that there are a lot of advances in powertrain technology that will improve the efficiency of vehicles over the next few years. There are near-term features like direct fuel injection, turbocharging and dual clutch transmissions. Other features like start stop systems and electrification of accessory drives will help too. The problem is these features all add cost to the vehicle. If consumers don't buy vehicles equipped with this kind of technology, there is no net benefit. Ernie DeVincent VP of Getrag spoke at the SAE World Congress this week and said that automakers have to do more than just put the new features on vehicles, they have to market it as well. New technology has always been something that has helped sell vehicles and it's more important than ever now. While some of changes may not provide as much improvement as a diesel or full hybrid system, their lower cost means that far more buyers can afford it. The aggregate improvement from 7-8 million vehicles a year with a 15 percent improvement in efficiency is far greater than 300,000 cars that get a 30 percent boost.
[Source: Ward's Auto World