As fuel prices continue to increase in response to worldwide growth in demand for petroleum products, it is incumbent on the engineering community to communicate to its many publics, including governments, what the alternatives are and how to evaluate the trade-offs in such vehicle qualities as fuel economy, safety features, and environmental controls. Much can be realized in fuel savings from improved operational practices that need to be communicated to users who, hopefully, will respond to the economic incentive of increasing fuel cost. Growing acceptance of added-cost product options for fuel savings indicates a possible favorable trend, at least in those machines, such as trucks, which are bought and operated as capital goods.
Improved products, using current technologies, are in development. The most important longer range developments are in fuel efficient engines compatible with the expected broad range of characteristics of future fuels, such as the variety of potential synthetic heavy hydrocarbons.