Q: What is a Fuel Efficient Car?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

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A fuel-efficient car conserves fuel by means of its construction and forward-thinking technologies, including a variety of advanced powertrain designs.

Diesel engines have long been a mainstay of the trucking industry because they make the most of their fuel intake. Direct injection and common-rail injection have helped increase fuel efficiency in diesel-powered cars. Like diesel powerplants, gasoline engines have come a long way in their fuel-saving practices.

Hybrid engines have gained popularity in the last decade due to their greatly enhanced fuel economy. A hybrid vehicle marries a gasoline or diesel engine with an electric battery. The combustion engine can help charge the battery and enhance or supplant the battery power when needed. Most hybrid vehicles make use of other advances, including regenerative braking, which recharges the battery using the power generated by friction when the brakes are applied.

A vehicle's drivetrain can also affect its fuel economy. A 2-wheel drive vehicle most often consumes less fuel than a 4-wheel drive vehicle. This is because a 4-wheel-drive system adds weight, and it's less work on an engine to send power to two wheels than rather than all four.

Vehicle construction can be a major factor in fuel efficiency. A fuel-efficient car design often includes sturdy yet lightweight materials that help reduce the vehicle's overall weight. Lighter vehicles require less power for movement, thus consuming less fuel than heavier models. Consumers looking to purchase a family car often seek lightweight vehicles that still provide the safety features and benefits of vehicles with a heavier construction. An aerodynamic shape will also make a vehicle more fuel efficient by helping the vehicle slip through the air with less wind resistance.

Families and business people alike benefit from vehicles with good fuel economy. A fuel-efficient car is good for the pocketbook and great for the environment.

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