It has long been known that IC engine variable valve timing (VVT) has the potential for significant improvements in engine performance. Many technical papers have been published on the potential benefits of internal combustion engine variable valve timing and the modes of valve operation that can be used to realize these benefits. Almost 800 US patents have been released on the subject of mechanisms to effect VVT since 1880. An extensive review of this literature and patents was made to determine the benefits obtainable from VVT and what operation modes allow these benefits to be obtained.We conclude that VVT has much potential. The potential gains include 15% or more average fuel economy gains as well as significant improvements in torque characteristics, emission reductions, etc. Nevertheless, little of VVT's potential has yet been realized, since serious mechanical difficulties have limited VVT applications to date.