Q: What is Fuel Economy?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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Fuel economy is an important measurement for motorists to consider. If a car has good fuel economy, you will pay less money because you'll buy less fuel while you own that car than you will if you drive a car that consumes more fuel. To fully understand what fuel economy is, you might first understand how the term is defined.

Fuel economy refers to how far a vehicle can travel on a specific amount of fuel. The higher the fuel economy, the less fuel -- gasoline, diesel, whatever -- the vehicle uses. In the U.S., the standard measure of fuel economy is miles per gallon, or mpg. This measure refers to how many miles a vehicle can travel before using one gallon of gasoline.

Fuel economy depends on several factors. In addition to the design of the vehicle, you have to consider your driving habits. As a rule, the faster you drive, the more gas you'll burn even in the most fuel-efficient vehicles. This is because you have to overcome greater resistance to accelerate and maintain faster speeds. Because the car is working harder to maintain these speeds, it burns more fuel.

Hybrid vehicles are often touted for superior fuel economy. This is especially true if you're doing a lot of city driving. In the city, where frequent stops and starts can waste gas, hybrid vehicles usually rely on electric power.

It's important to know about fuel economy for several reasons. First, fuel can be expensive, and you never know when there's going to be an embargo on foreign oil or a natural disaster that interrupts oil distribution. Knowing the fuel economy of your vehicle and the factors that influence fuel economy can help you save money. You can plan trips so that they use as little fuel as possible. For example, because you know highway driving is more economical than street driving, you can plan your routes so that you use the highway as frequently as possible.

Understanding fuel economy can also help you contribute to the environment's health. Burning fuel causes toxic fumes to be emitted into the air, which increases pollution. If you consider fuel economy when purchasing a vehicle, you'll use less fuel and therefore lower the amount that you contribute to air pollution.

Understanding fuel economy measurement can help you save fuel while driving so that you don't spend as much on refueling your vehicle. Compare vehicles you are considering purchasing in terms of their fuel economy in various driving conditions. That way you can choose a vehicle that is most likely to save you money.

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