WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. cars and light trucks will become more fuel efficient and safer -- but also more expensive -- by the end of the next decade, as a result of increasingly stringent environmental standards, a new research report said on Thursday.
The report, released by the National Research Council, said fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards will drive new powertrain designs, alternative fuels, more advanced materials and changes to body vehicle design.
Most gains in fuel consumption will come from improvements to gasoline internal combustion engines, which are expected to dominate automotives through 2025, according to the report, which was sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA and EPA have proposed standards that require vehicles offered for sale in the United States to attain an average fuel economy of 40.3 to 41 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2021, and 48.7 to 49.7 mpg by 2025. The agencies are planning a joint mid-term review of the standards, which would double new fleet fuel economy between 2012 and 2025.
The new report said a wide range of technologies would be critical to meeting 2025 standards, including improved transmissions, reductions in vehicle mass and hybrid and electric engines.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Alan Crosby)