DETROIT -- New technology will enable General Motors Corp. to increase gas mileage by an average of 2 miles a gallon on certain large trucks and sport utility vehicles, a company official said Monday.
GM says it has discovered a way to squeeze up to 25 percent more fuel efficiency out of a V8 engine using technology called "displacement on demand." The engines will be installed in 2004, spokesman David Roman said Monday.
A 2001 Chevrolet Suburban with a conventional 8-cylinder engine now has a fuel efficiency rating of 14 to 18 miles a gallon. The new engine would increase that to about 16 to 22 miles a gallon.
Using computer sensors, the technology automatically shuts off four of the eight cylinders during normal driving conditions. Roman says that usually will happen in third or fourth gear, regardless of whether the transmission is automatic or manual.
"If you're pulling a trailer it will be in V8," Roman said. All eight cylinders will also activate during acceleration.
Initially 150,000 of the Vortec V-8 engines will be produced at plants in Romulus, Mich., and St. Catherines, Ontario. By 2007, GM hopes to build about 1.5 million of the engines.
The engines will be installed as standard equipment. The company expects a "minimal" sticker price increase to cover the cost.
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