According to the EPA, a quarter of all new passengers vehicles sold today already meet the 2016 federal emissions standards.

Jeff Alson, senior policy advisor at the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said that nearly 90 models sold today already meet or will meet with minor air conditioning upgrades the 2016 requirements. In Alson’s words, emissions and fuel efficiency improvements are happening at a “pace that none of us would have predicted a few years ago.”

Alson also said that half of these vehicles run on gasoline, but none of those gasoline models would meet the 2025 requirements.

Out of the 90 already meeting the 2016 requirements, 25 models do meet the 2025 emissions requirements, but they represent only 3 percent of total vehicle sales. These models are all either hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles or fuel-cell vehicles.

Experts say this does not mean the gasoline engine is doomed.

Robert Bienenfeld, senior manager of environment and energy strategy at American Honda Motor Co.’s Product Regulatory Office, told Karl Henkel of The Detroit News that “gas engines should continue to dominate — with improvements such as direct injection, downsizing and turbocharging — until about 2021.But by then costs for consumers will rise as improvements in vehicles increase; more electrification will be needed to meet the 2025 requirements.”

Improvements will come in many ways, including technology refinement, the use of special alloys to reduce weight, removing unnecessary interior elements and a drastic reduction in engine size.

Considering all this, Alson does not expect electric car sales to flourish before the end of the decade.

The Detroit News