The pinch of significantly higher U.S. fuel economy standards is beginning to get automakers talking about how they plan to meet the challenge, and Hyundai has announced a two-pronged approach. Better engine and drivetrain technology will get the company half way to its goal, and the rest will be handled by lighter materials and more efficient accessories.

Because the new CAFE rules base the fuel economy requirements on the footprint of the vehicle - the area enclosed by the car's wheels - Hyundai has a target of 37.5mpg average by 2015 for its cars and trucks combined. Making the engine more efficient, decreasing weight and rolling resistance and lightening the load of accessories on the engine will combine to boost efficiency to the required levels, reports Automotive News.

Direct injection technology should yield between 3% and 6% on its own according to Hyundai. Increasing the availability of six-speed automatics will also help - initially on all V6-engined American models, then after 2010, even four-cylinder models except for the very smallest cars.

Other savings can be gained from aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tires, more electrically efficient LED lights and electric power steering. The common hydraulic power steering costs as much as 1mph against its electric alternative, thanks to the drain on the engine plus the extra weight in the form of belts, pulleys and pumps. Electric power steering achieves the same end result with less weight and rotating mass tied to the engine, improving efficiency.