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You may have noticed that Mazda hasn't released a lineup of electric vehicles, hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. So, how will the automaker reach the demanding 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 federal mandate? By going lightweight and utilizing its Skyactiv technology.

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Mid-January reports from the U.S. Energy Information Association confirm what should be obvious to motorists across the nation; gas prices are on the rise. This rise has put the price of gasoline above the $3 per gallon mark throughout the vast majority of the U.S. and is driving consumers towards more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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Back in 2008, soaring gas prices sent car buyers in search of efficient four-cylinder vehicles and, as the numbers show, sales of V6 and V8 engines dropped from 63.9 percent to 57.1 percent when gas prices spiked. Though elevated fuel costs may have triggered the increased demand for four-cylinder power a few years ago, the numbers show that the four-banger's rise to dominance continues.

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Back in 2008, soaring gas prices sent car buyers in search of efficient four-cylinder vehicles and, as the numbers show, sales of V6 and V8 engines dropped from 63.9 percent to 57.1 percent when gas prices spiked. Though elevated fuel costs may have triggered the increased demand for four-cylinder power a few years ago, the numbers show that the four-banger's rise to dominance continues.

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2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Audi will up the fuel efficiency ante with the addition of two new models that bring a new miles per gallon level to the A4 lineup that has never been reached. Packing 2.0-liter TDI engines, the pair of new models – a sedan and an Avant (wagon) – boast near best-in-class fuel economy ratings of 53.5 mpg (U.S.) and 51.1 mpg, respectively. In addition, the sedan's emissions now stand at 115 grams CO2 per kilometer, while the wagon version trails ever so slightly at 120 g/km CO2.

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The National Development and Reform Commission in China recently added 71 models from 16 different automakers to the approved list of vehicles that qualify for subsidies based on fuel efficiency alone. All of the qualifying vehicles are fitted with engines no larger than 1.6 liters and consume fuel at a rate of at least 20 percent below the average vehicle sold in China. Models such as the Hyundai i30 pictured above, will receive a subsidy of 3,000-yuan, which comes to a laughably small $442 (U.

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Top Ten EPA-rated Fuel Sippers (1984 to present) – Click above for image gallery

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Top Ten EPA-rated Fuel Sippers (1984 to present) – Click above for image gallery

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Manuel Reichle, Sound engineer, and the BMW 635d – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Affordability as the watchword Tuesday as automotive engineers at the SAE World Congress discussed how to meet the new 2016 corporate average fuel economy standards. Automakers will have to get their fleets to an average of 34.1 miles per gallon (35.5 equivalent with other factors for the EPA CO2 limits). Most automakers are already well on their way to this level with their next-generation designs. However, to do it they will have to make improvements to virtually every model in the entire flee

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2011 Lotus Elise – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Ford 1.6-liter EcoBoost - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Ford 1.6-liter EcoBoost - click above for high-res image gallery

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In typical Honda fashion, its premium Acura division will take a different path and has decided not to get sucked into a power race with its rivals. We already knew Acura had shelved plans for a larger V8 engine and a rear wheel drive platform. Product planning manager John Watts told Automotive News that the brand will instead focus on doing what needs to happen to meet the 2016 fuel economy standards which will be "tough."

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Bosch has long been a major supplier of many different automotive components to Fiat, and the company is hoping to leverage that association with the new Chrysler. Bosch provides a higher proportion of the parts and systems that go into the Italian cars than they ever have had at Chrysler. However, as new upcoming Chrysler vehicles move to Fiat-based platforms (and, presumably, powertrains), Bosch parts may further infiltrate Auburn Hills.

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According to a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the Detroit three automakers need to make major changes in their current corporate cultures if they truly want to reverse their fortunes, and that will likely require new leadership. Says Walter McManus, director of the Transportation Research Institute's Automotive Analysis Division and co-author of the report:

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Click above for high-res image gallery of the 2010 Ford Fusion

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