The average American driver wants a comfortable, stylish, reliable and durable vehicle that offers brisk performance, reasonable fuel economy, and is pleasing to drive - all at an affordable cost. Current regulations reinforce the need for good fuel economy and also mandate limits on exhaust emissions. For this set of attributes, the spark-ignition reciprocating engine promises to dominate well into the 21st century. Among on-going developments showing potential to extend its domination are multivalve cylinders, advanced induction systems, and variable valve actuation. Among the alternative powerplants undergoing development are the two-stroke spark-ignition engine, the low-heat-rejection diesel, the Stirling engine and the gas turbine. Because of several special qualities of ceramics, this class of materials is being considered for broadened application to engines. Environmental concerns are leading to consideration of alternative fuels and to concern about carbon dioxide emissions.