WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Bush administration this week is launching a new study project to forecast what kind of technology auto manufacturers will need to raise fuel efficiency over the next 15 years. According to the Detroit Free Press, a National Academy of Sciences panel will oversee the one-year project. When completed, the new report will represent an updating and expansion of a previous study released in 2002. The panel will hear testimony from federal officials and auto industry executives during a public meeting in Washington today. No definite date has been set for the new study's completion. The 2002 study, which drew strong criticism from automakers, concluded that the industry could raise fuel efficiency of its cars by up to 27 percent and its trucks by 42 percent over a decade with no changes in weight, size or performance. That estimate for potential efficiency gains raised the average fleet fuel efficiency to roughly 30 mpg. In the 2007 model year, U.S. cars and trucks are expected to average 26.4 mpg --- the highest level ever.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials