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Don’t Rule out the Internal Combustion Engine

Battery power gaining ground, but gasoline will stick around, experts say.

by on Jun.09, 2010

Hybrids offer plenty of promise but advanced -- and downsized -- engines like this Hyundai I4 will keep gasoline power competitive.

Despite all the talk of electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells, industry insiders agree that the internal combustion engine will remain the choice for powering the world’s cars for the foreseeable future.
With that in mind, a group of experts gathered by the National Research Council (NRC) looked at ways to improve fuel economy using the same basic engine design that has powered cars since the 19th century, specifically, the spark ignition gasoline engine. Members of the committee presented their findings at a breakfast sponsored by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

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Trevor Jones, who headed the study, said other power sources, such as electricity and fuel cells still present challenges engineers and scientists have not been able to overcome. In addition, the low cost of oil will help keep the SI engine the dominant powerplant for at least the next 15 years.