research program, advises the government and industry participants on the program's progress, and identifies significant barriers to success. This is the fourth report by the committee; the previous three are documented in three NRC reports, which provide further background on the PNGV program and committee efforts (NRC, 1994, 1996, 1997).
The PNGV goals and the considerations underlying all of the NRC reviews articulated in the partnership's program plan are listed below (PNGV, 1995):
Goal 1. Significantly improve national competitiveness in manufacturing for future generations of vehicles. Improve the productivity of the U.S. manufacturing base by significantly upgrading U.S. manufacturing technology, including the adoption of agile and flexible manufacturing and reduction of costs and lead times, while reducing the environmental impact and improving quality.
Goal 2. Implement commercially viable innovations from ongoing research on conventional vehicles. Pursue technology advances that can lead to improvements in fuel efficiency and reductions in the emissions of standard vehicle designs, while pursuing advances to maintain safety performance. Research will focus on technologies that reduce the demand for energy from the engine and drive train. Throughout the research program, the industry has pledged to apply those commercially viable technologies resulting from this research that would be expected to increase significantly vehicle fuel efficiency and improve emissions.
Goal 3. Develop vehicles to achieve up to three times the fuel efficiency of comparable 1994 family sedans. Increase vehicle fuel efficiency to up to three times that of the average of 1994 Concorde/Taurus/Lumina automobiles with equivalent cost of ownership adjusted for economics.
As the committee noted in its third report, significant improvements in automotive fuel economy and the development of competitive advanced automotive technologies and vehicles can provide important economic benefits to the nation. The automotive industry, which is an important component of the U.S. economy, can benefit greatly if it can meet the expected increase in demand for cost-effective, fuel-efficient products in international markets, especially in Asia. Highway traffic accounts for a significant part of the atmospheric ozone in urban areas, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and is largely responsible for U.S. petroleum consumption and the consequent outflow of dollars for the purchase and import of petroleum products (NRC, 1997; OTA, 1995; Sissine, 1996).
Several studies completed in 1997, as well as President Clinton's Climate Change Proposal, have focused on significant improvements in energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy that could be realized through energy R&D on technologies for energy production and energy consumption. Important reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could also result from the development of