A new report from the Department of Energy predicts that gasoline will still be the fuel of choice for a vast majority of the auto industry over 25 years from now, although it will be slightly less dominant than it is today.

The report, from the DoE's Energy Information Agency, predicts that by 2040, the number of gas-powered vehicles on the road will fall from today's 82 percent to 78 percent. This will be accompanied by a major rise in the average new-vehicle fuel economy, which should surge from the current 21.5 to 37.2 miles per gallon, leading to a four-percent drop in gasoline consumption by the US transport market. This is telling, as the same report predicts a 30-percent rise in miles traveled by the average American.

A surprising aspect of the report is the role of hybrids, though, which are expected to account for just five percent of the market, up from today's three-percent take, according to The Detroit News. Diesel power should double its market share, from two to four percent, while just two percent of the market will be plug-in hybrids or full electric vehicles. Where the report sees the biggest gains is in the use of so-called "micro hybrids" - gas-powered cars that utilize advanced features like stop-start and regenerative brakes - which are expected to account for 42 percent of the market.

Finally, in news that should make everyone happy, the price of fuel in 2040 is expected to rest around $3.90 for gasoline, besting a previous estimate of $4.40, and $4.73 for diesel, down from $5.03 in a previous EIA report.

What are your thoughts on all this? Do you think these predictions are accurate, or is there some aspect the report overlooked? Let us know in Comments.

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