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    Fuel Economy

    If how much you spend when you fill your tank or the harm you are causing to the environment is a concern for you, then this is a good time to consider fuel efficiency when buying your next car.

    There a few different characteristics in a car which will lower fuel consumption, such as engine size or manual transmission. Then there are cars which are designed specifically with efficiency in mind.

    Green and hybrid cars are now becoming a realistic option for many people. Although these types of cars have been available for sometime, up until recently they haven't been a popular option. The main reason for this has been the perception of lack of power, as well as a general lack of education on the concept of these cars. Technology has brought these cars a long way, as you will see as you read on.

    Take a look at our options for lowering your fuel consumption:

    Engine Size

    Don't buy a car with a large engine. V6 and V8 models consume high levels of gasoline. Find out about four-cylinder options when researching a car. Many people think that a four-cylinder engine won't perform as well as a V6 or V8 model. This isn't necessarily true as performance is governed by a power to weight ratio. If you have a powerful engine but a really heavy car it won't perform as well as a lighter car with a smaller engine. Not only will you be likely to save money on the cost of fuel for a car with a smaller engine, but you will also save money on the purchase price of the car, as these cars are typically less expensive than large ones.

    Diesels

    No longer the smelly and noisy vehicles they once were, diesel cars have now come into their own. The price of diesel makes these cars some of the cheapest to run, and technology has advanced these cars so far that you would barely know you are driving a diesel. Turbo technology negates the lack of performance that diesels once had. Often the torque a diesel engine provides will outperform gasoline engines of the same cc rating. Diesel cars are not wisely used in the US - less than two percent of passenger vehicles in the United States are diesel. By contrast, 50% of all new cars sold in Europe are diesel, due to high fuel prices. In America, motor industry and green organisations are now calling on Americans to consider diesel power to save fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

    Automatic or manual transmissions

    Manual transmissions are more economical than automatics. A manual transmission vehicle, if driven correctly will be between 5% and 15% more economical than an automatic as the driver is able to select a gear according to the driving conditions at the time. However, technology is quickly developing to enable automatic cars to be economic. If you are weighing up between buying a manual or automatic vehicle, check the EPA ratings of the car in question. If the EPA rating of the car is only 1 or 2 MPG (miles per gallon) in favour of the manual transmission, then you will find that the difference in fuel economy will hardly be noticeable.

    Hybrid cars

    Otherwise known as HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) or Gas Electric Hybrid Cars, a hybrid car optimizes fuel efficiency by using two different power sources - often both at the same time. A hybrid car works by using a combination of both battery power and internal combustion. In essence, while your car is sitting idle, the engines shut off and the car is run exclusively by battery power. This allows the internal combustion engine to run at optimum efficiency 100% of the time.

    In the early days of development, the first generation hybrids were weak and very slow vehicles. They worked on a "series" system which uses the internal combustion engine only to generate electricity for powering the drive engine. This configuration is not used on its own at present.

    Technology development has advanced these cars to use the best of both battery powered and gasoline powered internal combustion. The latest hybrids use "parallel" systems, which work by having an internally combusted engine providing primary power to the car with an electric motor supplementing power in times of high demand - such as climbing hills or accelerating quickly.

    Most of the fuel used in your car is not consumed during periods of cruising at high speeds. A large amount of fuel used is in the acceleration process - getting your car moving. A hybrid car uses the electric motor for this process, as electric motors spin at high RPM - giving lots of torque. This will allow the car to get from 0 to about 30 miles per hour. From here, the gas engine takes over and in conjunction with each other, the two motors get you to the speed you want to go.

    When you choose to brake, or decelerate, this process will generate power to the battery. By doing this, the vehicle recharges its own battery. You will not have to plug the battery in to recharge itself at night.

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