Importance of Efficient Cars and Some Tips to Follow

Not everyone can use hybrid and electric cars – at least still now. It is not only expensive, but also a new technology – the matter is people are not ready to accept battery power.  Luckily, you do not have to rely on efficient electronic cars only. You also cut down the cost a bit with stepping towards an eco-friendlier vehicle uses.

Why Car Efficiency is So Important?

Many people both inside and outside the industry still think that by sticking on a catalyst and thus controlling toxic emissions, we have solved the problem. And then will drive happily ever after. Many of us forgets that it’s only the beginning. The environmental impact of the car is greater than its toxic emissions alone.

There can be production process and the misery caused by the many traffic accidents involving cars. But these are not the only problem we should be worried at. The product itself in its present form carries with it a number of inherent environmental problems. So car efficiency can be called as fuel efficiency, longer useful life and recyclability/renewability also.

Even on a smaller scale the way we maintain our cars still means that discarded oil, grease (a biodegradable grease only exists experimentally) and other fluids enter the environment. Even washing our cars uses vast amounts of water and can introduce detergents into the environment unnecessarily, although automatic car washes that recycle their water are increasingly used.

History of Fuel Efficiency Car Programs

After the World War II period many car designers and manufacturer companies were able to create many small, aerodynamic and lightweight designs. these designs achieved good fuel consumption. With the increase of the wealth/prosperity and the decrease of the price of the petrol, fuel consumption became less important. And this car grew bigger, squarer (less aerodynamic), fatter and heavier.

But then again came the energy crisis in 1973/4. So the manufacturer intervened and once again made great strides in improving the fuel efficiency of cars.

After few decades’ people started to find out whatever the present oil reserves may be, oil is a finite resource. And they should extract it with sense. Whatever the current price of the petrol and diesel fuel, people should start thinking of the real environmental cost of burning away a finite resource and producing pollution in the process. So, In the post 2000s, the average car has become significantly more fuel-efficient.

Also, we need oil for many other purposes, such as lubrication or the production of plastics, and we should consider whether it is not perhaps more sensible to use this finite resource in a more constructive manner, rather than letting it go up in toxic smoke.

Making Cars More Energy Efficient

In a popular thought, petrol engine is one of the more efficient solutions to the problem of powering a car. Only some 28% of the energy in the petrol is available as power at the crankshaft (10-15% more in diesel engines).

Of this remainder, around 10% is absorbed by the alternator and cooling fan, 6% by the gearbox, 4% by the differential, and 5% in the rest of the drivetrain. Rolling resistance absorbs another 18%, while air resistance takes a hefty 40%. Only 20% is then left to accelerate and go up hills.

There are several ways to make a car use less fuel. We can:

  • change the engine by making it smaller and/or more efficient;
  • change the shape and make it more aerodynamic;
  • reduce weight/mass;
  • change gearing;
  • change operating conditions.

(1) Efficient Modern Petrol Engines

Engine efficiency It may come as a surprise to many, that the modern petrol engine is actually remarkably efficient. Virtually any other source of energy or type of engine would need more room to produce the same amount of power.

The process is with more complicated and larger fuel storage facilities. Also, there will a much tighter and more sophisticated engineering tolerances and production systems.

This does not mean that the present offerings cannot be improved. Also, as emissions requirements become a more important factor, the equation may well change and make other systems more efficient.

So, the engineers should take some major steps to designed more efficient engines that will take less energy and cause less pollution.


(2) Use of Energy Efficient Alternative Fuel

Several governments have classed a number of alternative fuels as ‘clean’. It has used a rather limited criterion based on their contribution to tropospheric ozone pollution (smog). This is because they found it in a number of major cities.

Unfortunately, carbon dioxide emissions have largely been ignored and such alternative fuels as alcohol (ethanol, methanol) still produce high levels of carbon dioxide, as do all hydrocarbon-based fuels.

Only if they are produced from crops – which absorb as much carbon dioxide as is released when they burn – can we avoid a net increase in carbon dioxide from such fuels, but feeding a growing world population is really a higher priority than powering our cars.

The real answers to the pollution question seem to be hydrogen or electricity. Both of these have to be produced first. At present the wide network of non-hydrocarbon production systems for these energy sources (e.g. wind, solar, tidal, hydro) is not always available.

(3) Changing the System Storage

Besides, both systems require heavy and complex storage systems. For the time being, most of our cars are therefore likely to be powered by petrol or diesel engines.

These can take many different shapes and some recent designs, such as improved two-stroke, Orbital and others, may well reach the production stage. Most of these combine even greater efficiency with greater simplicity and lower weight.

Even the present designs are still being improved; multi-valve heads, turbo-charging, fuel injection, engine management systems all enable us to get more power from the same amount of fuel.

A logical step would therefore be a radical reduction in engine size towards small engines of much greater sophistication.

This would combine lower toxic emissions in absolute terms with lower carbon dioxide emissions and lower fuel consumption.

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