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Gas Mileage: Would You Give Up Power Windows For 55mpg?

Submitted by on December 4, 2011 – 2:04 pmNo Comment

New emissions standards require that the auto industry nearly double current fuel economy by 2025, to an average of about 55mpg. According to one researcher, that technology already exists- and the biggest obstacle to using it is the driver.

Margaret Woolridge, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Michigan, tells NPR that features like power windows, air conditioning, and entertainment devices guzzle power in cars, but are now all considered standard.

“I personally owned a vehicle that had over 45 mpg fuel economy when I was in college,” Wooldridge says. “And it had a manual transmission, manual windows; it was a great car, [it] lasted forever. It was lightweight, kind of chilly to heat in the winter and all that good stuff.”

But she acknowledges that any possible solutions must be cost competitive without skimping on features that consumers expect. Woolridge suggests that this will be achieved by pursuing a variety of technologies, certainly including hybrids and electric cars, but not focusing on any single one.

What do you think? Would you give up luxuries to help the environment and your wallet?

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