What makes a car fuel-efficient?

With the volatility of the global oil market, the consumers are at the mercy of oil manufacturers. It is as if oil companies are playing jokes on us because after a series of oil price roll backs of less than 90 centavos, they will increase pump prices by a peso. Well, this writer is no rocket scientist, but this is a perspective shared by most consumers. 

In this regard, consumers take into account this development and choosing the most fuel efficient automobile out there is a close second to a car’s aesthetics. With the numerous variants being sold in the market, a consumer once asked me, what makes a car fuel efficient? There are many factors, and the foremost feature of what makes a car fuel efficient is its aerodynamics. “Aerodynamics play a crucial role in how a car becomes fuel efficient. By having an aerodynamic design, an automobile actually has to push the air out of its way because of the sheer thickness of the air. By allowing air to be pushed out at optimal levels, the car flows through easily with the least amount of air and less amount of fuel,” says Joseph Bautista, product development head of Isuzu Philippines Corporaton (IPC). 

Your car’s speed and your driving method are also important factors in how to make your ride fuel efficient. In my personal experience as a winner of numerous fuel efficiency contests, the magic number is to keep the speed below 90kph during highway driving. On urban duties, 40 kph will clinch it and always anticipate traffic flow and gradually ease into the next traffic stop. Avoid jack rabbit starts because this will cause your car to sip more fuel. One must also learn to relax and depress the accelerator as if there is an egg behind it.  

Wind tunnel

Choosing the engine type is also a crucial element on how to be fuel efficient. Diesel is more efficient than gasoline engines. Coupled with that, the amount of power that the engine creates also determines the fuel economy. A four cylinder engine will be more efficient than a V6 or V8 engine.

Another determining factor for fuel efficiency is the car’s size and weight. This explains why sub compact cars are selling like hotcakes because aside from being affordable, they also consume fuel like a camel. The bigger and heavier the car, the more energy and power it needs to run. The ability of the car to achieve speeds and carry the mass of the vehicle as well as that of passengers and cargo is dependent on the power it can generate. As a result, bulky vehicles tend to be less fuel efficient.

An axle ratio also has a heavy impact on the amount of fuel efficiency that can be derived from a car. Many vehicles do not come with the option of getting to pick from a variety of axle ratios, but for those that do, it is advisable to pick the combination with the smallest numbers, as this means there will be greater fuel economy. A smaller degree of axle ratio means the vehicle will be able to run smoothly at a distance, and the engine will function at a lower intensity for a prolonged standard speed. One should look for an axle ratio of around 3:1 or lower.

Topics: What makes a car fuel-efficient?

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