With all this talk about government mandates to increase the fuel economy in cars, you might think that we are destined to see an influx of hybrids, electrics and other alternative-fuel cars. While more of these types of alternative-fuel cars will be introduced in the coming years, the majority of cars are still likely to be equipped with increasingly efficient gasoline engines. In fact, the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit showcased more cars with high-tech gasoline engines than alternative-fuel cars.
General Motors and Ford introduced further mpg improvements in their fuel-efficient engines that are already on the market. General Motors unveiled two Chevrolet concept cars with new versions of its Ecotec four-cylinder engine that would like get at least 40 mpg on the highway, while Ford said its 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine in its new Fusion would likely get 37 highway mpg. Similarly, the newly-introduced Dodge Dart will achieve 40 highway mpg, according to Dodge.
Regardless of your opinion of gasoline-powered cars versus hybrids, electrics and other alternative-fuel cars, there's a real financial benefit to buying a car that runs on gasoline because an alternative-fuel car costs more -- often thousands more -- than its gasoline-only counterpart. So as gasoline-powered cars get increasingly fuel efficient, the amount of time to recoup the additional cost of an alternative-fuel car increases.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.