Fuel economy in automobiles is something you should be thinking about before you buy a used car or a new one. It doesn’t seem that important with current gas prices but when gas prices climb then fuel economy becomes a big factor. Remember just a few year ago when gasoline in the USA hit $4 a gallon and everyone all of the sudden became very concerned about their automobiles fuel economy. Well right now prices are low but that can change anytime.
What Is Fuel Economy In Automobiles
Fuel economy in cars here in the USA is measured in miles per gallon which simply means how far can you go in your vehicle on one gallon of gasoline. The further you can go the better the fuel economy of the vehicle. In countries where the metric system is used it’s fundamentally the same except they look at how many kilometers can you travel on one liter of petrol. At the end of the day, all this term means is how far can you go on a gallon.
Factors That Affect Fuel Efficiency in Cars
Engine Size & Type – The size of the motor in your car can be a significant factor when it comes to fuel economy in automobiles. the bigger the motor the less gas mileage you are likely to get.
V8’s – Our modern engines even your big V8 are designed to use fuel efficiently but they simply can not compete with the fuel efficiency of a 4 cylinder. Now it can at times be fairly close to a 6 cylinder since some modern V8 engines will run on 6 cylinders until more power is needed. What that means to you is that you get the fuel efficiency of a 6 cylinder but still have the availability of an 8 when needed.
6 Cylinder – Your 6 cylinder motors are probably the best middle ground since they offer plenty of horse Power as well as good gas mileage. These motors can give you years of service as well as save you money.
4 Cylinder – Modern 4 cylinder engines have come a long way and some are heavily modified these days where a 4 cylinder that is turbo charged can give you the power of a 8 or 6 cylinder while giving you great gas mileage. Even your normally aspirated 4’s these days will give you enough horsepower to be happy and move around in traffic as well as the highway and usually giving you the best fuel economy in a vehicle short of Hybrids.
Hybrids – Hybrids give you the best fuel efficiency in a car because they use the minimal amount of fuel to run the motor as well as charging up a battery that runs an electric motor which assists in powering the vehicle.
Size & Wind Resistance – The size of the vehicle and its wind resistance are another factor that will have an impact on how many miles a gallon you can get from your vehicle. Size meaning weight here. The heavier the car the harder it is to get it in motion. This is why most bigger SUV’s and trucks do not get gas mileage in the city and do okay on the highway. Once they are moving it takes less to keep them in motion. Wind resistance is simply how much the shape of the vehicle resists the wind. The more wind resistance the harder it is to keep a car moving. This is why most modern cars are put to a wind tunnel test and then adjustments are made to get the least wind resistance possible.
Air Conditioning & Ignition – Air conditioning which is not an option in Houston as well as the energy it takes to run the ignition directly rob power from the motor and therefore have an effect on fuel economy.
Best Fuel Economy In Cars
Accelerating & Speeding – Rapid acceleration as well as excessive speed have a negative impact on your gas mileage. During rapid acceleration, your engine will not be fuel efficient. Speeding also has a negative impact on fuel economy. Speeds of 65mph or more can lower your fuel efficiency by as much as 15 percent. So keep it under 65 and accelerate slow and steady and you are on the way to getting the best fuel economy out of your car.
Braking & Coasting to a Stop – Less braking when coming to lights and allowing your vehicle to coast is a great way to improve gas mileage. It takes less gas for you to coast then it does for you to put the whole vehicle back in motion once stopped. So if you can avoid total stops when possible then you can increase fuel efficiency.
Don’t Fall For The Octane Myth – This does not affect fuel efficiency as much as it saves you money by buying the cheapest gas possible. When it comes to premium, mid-grade or regular unless your vehicle comes equipped with a high compression engine it’s not necessary to use anything but good old regular gasoline which is the cheapest to buy. Only about 25 percent of the vehicles these days have a high compression engine and require more octane. If your car says regular which is most likely you will not get improvement in fuel economy using anything higher nor will it affect your engine negatively. So go cheap and put that money in your pocket.
The Internet Is Your Friend For Finding Cheap Gas Stations – This again does not particularly have anything to do with getting the best fuel economy but more with getting the most out of the money you spend on gasoline. There are apps as well as websites that can help you find the cheapest gas in your area. One of the ones we found to be superb at finding a cheap gas station is https://www.gasbuddy.com you can simply put in your zip code and it will show you where the cheap gas is.
Tire pressure – Tire pressure is important when it comes to rolling resistance. The more resistance the tire gives to rolling the more power it will take to move the car and therefore more gas will need to be used. So check your tire pressure often and make sure it’s at the recommended tire pressure for the tire.
Low Rolling Resistance Tires – Next time you need new tires look at low rolling resistance tires which will help even more with getting you the best gas mileage possible.
Eliminate Roof Racks & Roof Boxes – Removing your roof rack or any other roof mounted storage system will get your car back to the best aerodynamics possible and therefore give you the best fuel economy. So whenever these are not needed remove them. Yes its a bit of a pain but it will pay in the long run.
Change Your Air Filter Yearly – Changing your air filter at least once a year can help increase fuel efficiency by as much as 13 percent or more. When your motor is not getting the proper amount of air then the engine management system will compensate by richening up the fuel mixture to keep the car running properly which will cause you to use more fuel than is needed. So simple once a year change that air filter.
Spark Plugs Every 30K Miles – Changing your spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so will help keep engine combustion optimal for the best fuel efficiency possible in your vehicle. Carbon deposits build up on spark plugs over time which will affect good spark over time. Keeping your plugs fresh and as free of carbon deposits as possible will ensure that fuel is burnt efficiently.
Remapping The ECU – This is usually done to increase horsepower and not fuel efficiency but most tuners have the ability to sacrifice power for better fuel economy.
I know that fuel economy in automobiles is not always the main consideration when you decide to buy a used car or new one. However, keep in mind that this will be a big factor on what the car will cost you in the long run. When buying a car especially a used car that might be a bit out of your price range but now that it’s older is affordable it’s important to consider things like maintenance cost and fuel economy so your new baby does not turn into your new burden.