Best MPG Cars – How to Spot a Cool Car Built For Fuel Efficiency

Eleanor Hanson

How would you like to instantly know a car is fuel efficient just by looking at it? I would say this would be a great time-saving skill.

The car has come a long way since Ford’s Model T was marketed in America in 1908. For one, it looks less boxy now.

Part of the reason why this is so is developers have been looking more and more into better fuel economy. Consumers started asking for cars that use up less gas while not giving up on all the creature comforts like power, speed, air-conditioning, safety, radio and, of course, the looks.

Thus the term automotive aerodynamics. Aerodynamics was first in use with airplanes to decrease the effects of the atmosphere on the plane while flying. What auto researchers realize was that they could use these on cars as well.

Other than design, the reason why cars are losing their hard, box-like edges is the term called drag.

Automotive aerodynamics is concerned with the following attributes: drag, wind noise, noise emissions, and lift at high speeds.

Drag is the resistance of the car to move through the atmosphere at high speeds.

Wind Noise is noise caused by air at high velocity whistling through a vehicle.

Noise emission is the overall noise created by a car’s engine, tires, aerodynamics and brakes, contributing to the overall noise being heard in an environment such as a city. If several cars on the road are wrongly designed, it would cause the overall noise level of an environment to go up, causing potential health issues to its inhabitants.

Lift is the habit of the car to move in an undesired direction as it achieves and maintains high speeds due to interaction with the atmosphere and the ground.

What does Drag have to do with it?

Drag at high speeds is important because the more a car is able to flow with the air around it while at speed; the better it is able to devote more of its engine power to forward movement. At slow speeds, drag is not a significant factor.

Surprisingly enough, approximately 60% of an average car engine’s power is used just to overcome drag on the highway moderate speeds! Worse, this factor goes up even more as the car goes to higher speeds.

The best optimal speed for a car of current design on the highway is between 90kph to 110kph.

So the better the aerodynamics a car has, the better fuel efficiency it has. Trucks have the worst aerodynamics with their gigantic front profile, flat windshield, and large, wide wheels. The best aerodynamics is credited to most sports cars, designed for speed.

So what do I look for?

Without popping the hood to check the engine, cars that have a low drag coefficient generally have:

-Low curved front windshield

-Headlights are streamlined to the body

-Side mirrors and door handles are streamlined to flow around the wind

-Vehicle ground clearance has a low profile

-The car has a tear-drop shaped profile sloping to the rear to minimize turbulence

-Wheels have smaller width, if possible. Wide wheels can have better grip but causes higher drag.

-Wheel openings are minimal that would let air into the wheel well

-Overall vehicle shape has no boxy look to it.

What else can be considered for fuel economy?

Engine – a turbo-diesel engine is the best combustion engine for fuel economy by virtue of the cost of diesel and the way a diesel engine operates

Mileage – ask for the service record of the car to see what parts have been replaced and which are aging. Regularly service your car to change oil, fluids and such.

Tires – replace threadbare or soft tires immediately. Check wheel alignment.

Your Habits – your driving habits ultimately will save you the most gas on the road

Alternative Fuels – you can use alternate fuels such as a hydrogen-on-demand (HOD) system to supplement. This system creates hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) gas on demand from a water medium to mix with the air and fuel in the combustion chamber for better performance.

What does a HOD system do?

Hydrogen when compressed and introduced to an internal combustion engine:

-Releases more energy than ethanol-based mixes, maintaining the overall power of the car

-Completely burns the fuel which gives cleaner emissions

-Raises the octane level of the fuel, preventing knocking, making the engine quieter

-Lowers overall engine temperature slightly

-Requires the engine to use less gas per cycle

Is it safe?

HOD systems generate hydrogen only on demand and are therefore safe. When no electricity is routed through the HOD system, no reaction is generated. No hydrogen is in storage in this system but is kept in medium, which is basically water.

Cost?

Parts are sourced from everyday parts found in hardware shops and basic electronics stores. Total cost for a basic unit can range between $70 to over $200 USD.

What’s offered by most HOD enterprises are plans for do-it-yourself systems, with offers to build the system for the consumer if they so wish. This way the customer can opt to build it himself or to buy a unit once the concept is understood after obtaining the plans to prevent fraud.

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