Automakers are examining every conceivable option as they stretch to make their cars meet 54.5 miles per gallon, per a government mandate, over the next 13 years. Surprisingly, electric vehicles might not play a prominent role in their plans.

That's the opinion of experts and industry leaders who spoke during a panel discussion Tuesday at the Pew Clean Energy Program in Dearborn, Michigan. Several of the panelists said they expect new and lighter materials to play a far larger role in helping car makers meet the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard by 2025.

United Auto Workers representative Brad Markell tells the Detroit Free Press that "electrification is not super-important to meeting this standard."

Instead, car makers will look to advances with the internal combustion engine, hybrid cars and lightweight materials to gain the most ground. Jay Baron, president of the Center for Automotive Research, said materials and composites manufacturers are starting to figure out what's ahead.

They'll have a formidable battle ahead. According to TrueCar.com, the average fuel economy for new cars sold in August was 23.2 miles per gallon. Last month, the U.S. government formally enacted requirements that force automakers to raise their fuel economy to 54.5 mpgs by 2025.

Cars, trucks and mass transit consume approximately 14 million barrels of oil a day, according to the Pew Clean Energy Program, and approximately 55 percent is imported at a cost of $1 billion per day.

Full story: Detroit Free Press.

Check out our Techsplanation video and article about Electric Cars here and learn the basics of how they work and what they are like to live with.