Posts Tagged ‘fuel efficiency’

2011 Ford Fiesta rated at 4.9 L/100km highway

Anyway you slice it, 5.9 L/100km on the highway is good, but coming from a car as stylish to look at and fun to drive as Ford’s new Fiesta makes that number even more enticing.

What’s more, 5.9 L/100km is the US EPA rating, a much more conservative and therefore more realistic fuel efficiency determination than Canada’s EnerGuide rating system. Via Canada’s system, the Fiesta is good for 4.9 L/100km highway and 6.8L/100km city.

Are more people turning to fuel efficient cars?

The recession seems to be affecting everyone in some shape or form. From food prices to the housing market crash to the cost of petrol, no-one seems to be immune from having to stump up extra cash for the things that are almost essential to sustain us and the way we live. The automobile industry is no exception. However, with money becoming a much more valuable possession and we are developing more of a reluctance to part with it; have fuel efficient vehicles become more popular among consumers?

In an age when style, fashion and looks are more important than substance, there is evidence to suggest that we are becoming more concerned with the actual specifications and results that our vehicles produce as opposed to just their looks. While aesthetics will always play a big part in our choice of car there is evidence to suggest that fuel efficiency is now becoming the major factor in deciding which car to buy. Both the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit have seen an increase in sales over the last year as they both offer around 34 miles to the gallon. Similarly the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 have also seen a rise in sales; they might be slightly bigger than the Fit or Yaris but they will get you about 30 miles to the gallon. If you use your car frequently, communing back and forth to work for example, then these little details can be a life saver when it comes to your expenditure on gas.

Further afield in Japan, the home of the Prius, the government is providing incentives for consumers to purchase fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. It is their version of a ‘cash for clunkers’ scheme designed to not only promote hybrid cars but also to allow the buyers to get more money for trade ins. Obama recently raised the fuel efficiency target for automakers. By 2016, the average combined fleet mileage must be at least 35.5mpg up from the current target of 25.1mpg. By raising the target, automakers will be forced to build more fuel efficient vehicles, discontinue the gas guzzlers or do a combination of both.

Are we now turning to fuel efficient cars more than before? The evidence would suggest that we are. While automobiles such as the Yaris, Civic and the Prius are all showing high volumes of sales, the gas-guzzling SUV’s are down some 53%. While we may not be totally abandoning aesthetics for performance, we are certainly heading in that direction.

Obama Kills The V8, Announces 35.5 MPG Target For 2016

With the automakers proverbial balls in his hands, President Obama has killed the V8. In fact he has killed all forms of automotive fun, that is unless you consider trying to get a highscore at your local hypermiling competition fun.

Obama brought together the automakers, environmentalists, and state politicians to strike a landmark deal that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% and increase the average fuel economy of an automaker’s fleet to 35.5 mpg. The current requirement for automakers is 25.1 mpg.

“For the first time in history, we have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars,” Obama said. “In the past, an agreement such as this would have been considered impossible.”

Its a win-win-win-win-lose situation. The Federal Government (or Obama) is a winner here for bringing everyone together, something that the Bush Administration was unable (or unwilling) to do. The state politicians win as they no longer have to create their own fuel-efficiency standards and can fall back on the new stricter Federal standards. The environmentalists have scored a big victory as the new mileage targets come a full four years sooner than was necessary under a 2007 Federal Court ruling. The automakers now have a single standard to meet which will help reduce costs. They have also agreed to drop any pending lawsuits that were brought on to fight the state specific standards. Anything that will cut costs for the automakers is good news.

Now, of course there has to be a loser in all of this. Of course, that distinction goes to you and me the lowly consumer. Not only will high performance (fuel guzzling) automobiles be missing from roads in 2016, we’ll also be paying on average of $600 to $1,300 more for these newer fuel sipping vehicles. As taxpayers, our tax dollars have already been funneled to the automakers in the form of bailouts to keep these companies alive and now we’ll be forced to buy cars that are fuel efficient.

While I may have painted a rosy picture for the automakers, that is not the case. If the automakers did not have their hands out begging for Federal bailout money, they likely would have been in a much better position to negotiate and continue fighting this battle like they have for the last seven years.

After the announcement, Obama got into his Presidential Limo that gets about 5 mpg. ;)

Ferrari, Maserati: On Endangered Species List

Exotic Cars Endangered?

If environmentalists have their way, several endangered and exotic species may become extinct. Ferrari, Maserati and other European sports car manufacturers will be the real losers if a European commission moves forward with their “green plan”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mileage Shootout: M3 vs Prius

Looking through the car photo and video galleries today, I stumbled onto this video of the M3 vs Prius battle on Top Gear. They had the Prius in front going for the fastest lap with the M3 trailing behind it. They then measured the average mileage over 10 laps.

The result is not surprising at all, but the video does spark some interesting discussions over hybrid cars such as the Prius. Join in on the discussion: M3 more efficient than a Prius

Want To Save Gas? Just Relax!

Relaxing will save you gas!Oil recently hit an all time high of just under $140 per barrel and the price of gas did not take long to follow suit. Just this week the average price of gas across Canada shot up about $0.10 per liter in many regions. In Calgary it shot up about $0.08 per liter. As a result, many people are changing their car buying decisions opting instead for something a little less thirsty.

Others turn to fuel saving tips like inflating tires to maximum pressure, coasting down hills, tailgating large trucks, rolling down windows instead of using the air conditioner, and filling up in the morning. The list of fuel saving tips is endless! Hypermilers take all these tips to the extreme and often get hybrid car like mileage in non hybrid vehicles.

However, many fuel saving tips are simply myths and results gained from following them are actually the result of something else:

“Mythbusters” co-host Adam Savage has made a living debunking gas-saving myths on his popular Discovery channel show. The only thing he’s found that really saves gas? Relaxing. In an experiment that will air in an upcoming show, the “Mythbusters” team found that people who drive while they’re angry use 50 percent more gas than people who are relaxed.

“The difference was absolutely astonishing,” Savage said. “You just use a lot more gas [when you’re angry]. That has more of an effect on your fuel economy than any other single thing.”

That’s right! The dreaded “R word” that women hate to hear in arguments is something that will help you save gas. It all makes sense, when you’re stressed or angry you tend to drive faster. You floor it, slam on the brakes as you run into traffic, switch lanes, floor it again for a few seconds until you run out of room again, and repeat.

Source: ABC News

Combat High Fuel Prices With Hypermiling

Fuel prices have soared to record levels, with announcements every week telling us that they will continue to climb. Local prices here have hit about CAD $1.24/L which works out to about US $4.60/Gallon at today’s exchange rate.

If you think the only way to shield yourself from soaring gas prices is to go out and by a hybrid vehicle, Wayne Gerdes would love to prove you wrong. You see, Gerdes routinely gets over 30mpg on his wife’s SUV, an Acura MDX. On his own Honda Accord, he can easily get about 60 mpg.

Gerdes accomplishes this by driving while being super attentive to fuel efficiency, a completely obsessive driving technique he calls hypermiling. He’ll never floor the gas pedal to accelerate, in fact he barely touches it when accelerating. Other tips include inflating the tires to maximum pressure listed on the tire itself, using a lower weight engine oil, driving outside of the grooves on busy roads, coasting in neutral down hills, avoid use of the brake during turns and tailgating large semis on highway to cut down on wind resistance. Extreme? Definitely. Effective? Yup!

The most helpful tool for a hypermiler like Gerdes is a fuel consumption display (FCD). Many new cars come equipped with one that displays a real time fuel consumption figure. Step on the gas and it’ll start to climb, or coast down a hill and watch it drop. If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently.

“If the epa would mandate FCDs in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in—10 to 20 bucks—and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”

I would test this out to see how far a tank of gas can take me, but I really don’t have the patience to try for that long. Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments or discuss in our forums!