The Big Three Go to Washington
These flex fuel vehicles were also at the center of General Motors's recent plans to build or change 19 engines and transmissions. The General said that it will offer about 14 models that can run on either gasoline or E85 by the 2007 model year. New flex-fuel vehicles include the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, and the Chevrolet Uplander minivan. Chevy’s best selling sedan, the Impala, will also get GM’s active fuel management system. The system shuts down cylinders as power demands decrease during driving. Chrysler also offers a similar technology, designed to make large vehicles more fuel efficient, such as the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300C.
Despite its focus on E85, General Motors also plans to finally come out with a hybrid vehicle this summer. The 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line will, according to GM, use up to 20 percent less fuel than a regular Saturn Vue – a modest increase in fuel efficiency for a more modest price increase -- compared to the premium on other hybrids. The Green Line will get an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, compared with 33 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is geared more for power as well as fuel savings.