Scientists have found that injecting small amounts of ethanol fuel into a regular gasoline engine during moments of peak demand, such as accelerating hard or climbing a steep hill, could actually improve fuel efficiency by between 20 and 30 percent.

Work is being carried at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop new small capacity motors with ethanol injection technology, which could be combined with hybrid drivetrains and turbochargers to maximize fuel economy and performance of future vehicles. Cost of the ethanol injection system would add roughly $1000 to the cost of manufacturing a car, and early estimates put the release date in 2010.

So far, most attention for fuel efficient vehicles have centered on hybrid cars, which can cost an extra $3000 or more over a conventional drivetrain. Both the Big Three and Washington are supported the expansion of ethanol based fuels, but its limited supply is holding back its potential.