Turbocharged gasoline engines could be the unsung heroes of automakers' battle to reduce emissions and increase fuel economy.

Turbocharged engines can accomplish both by getting power equivalent to a larger normally aspirated engine out of a smaller turbocharged unit. The result is reduced carbon dioxide emissions and better mileage. AutoWeek reports that European automakers are increasingly focusing on these engines, with VW expecting 50 percent of gasoline cars in Germany to be turbocharged by 2010.

Currently, almost all European diesels are turbocharged, compared to only 8 to 10 percent of gas engines, partly because of technical challenges in dealing with gasoline engine exhaust temperatures 33 percent higher than for diesels.

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