The demands placed on automotive manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon footprints led to the development of alternative fueled vehicles. Nevertheless, gas powered engines remain dominant in the automotive market. Gas engines are not likely to disappear in the near future. However, engineers are continually adopting new methods of function that enable increased performance while becoming more eco-friendly. Whether buying a new vehicle or merely overhauling an existing vehicle with a different engine, consumers benefit from the technology.
Variable Valve Timing and Lift
Conventional engines are equipped with valves that open and close at regulated increments, which provides an air/gas mixture as fuel. In the past, regardless of the work load that engines undergo, the rate at which valves perform their function remained unchanged. This means that engines receive the same amount of fuel regardless of work load. In effect, engines proved inefficient and permitted unnecessary fuel consumption and loss. By developing technology that times valve function to more closely accommodate the needs of an engine, the vehicle becomes more fuel efficient. Studies indicate that this newer design saves up to five percent in fuel consumption.
Vehicles have four or more cylinders, which are all engaged as long as the vehicle remains running. Fuel saving ideology led engine engineers to reconsider the necessity of having all of the cylinders functional when not needed, which wastes fuel. Sports cars and heavy duty trucks, for example, feature V-8 engines. While a vehicle may require increased fuel consumption during times of extreme speeds or when hauling loads, at other times, decreased demands only waste fuel. By deactivating cylinders when they are not necessary, vehicles become more than seven percent fuel efficient. Though this technology is currently available on V-8 engines, manufacturers are considering adopting the change for V-6 model cars and trucks.
Alterations in Fuel Injection
In conventional gas engines, a spark ignites fuel and air in the combustion chamber. However, studies suggest that heating and pressurizing the fuel before it enters the chamber makes gas burn cleaner and more efficiently. The alteration also reduces the amount of fuel needed to power the engine. Under normal circumstances, gas engines might have a compression ratio of around 10 to 1. Newer technology increases this ratio to 14 to 1. The engine in a Mazda Demio, for example, has this innovative design and gets a reported 70 miles per gallon.
This invention involves fans that are powered by the gases that are en route to the exhaust system. This action creates a higher compression ratio by allowing more compressed air into the combustion chamber, which means more efficient combustion and better fuel economy. When smaller engines feature turbochargers, engine performance also improves while saving fuel.
How someone drives a vehicle additionally has an effect on gas consumption. The faster a vehicle goes, the more fuel the engine consumes. Newer technology provides drivers with visualization by adding dashboard mechanisms that display when vehicles are operating efficiently and when more conservative measures are necessary. Other innovations include eco-modes that regulate transmission shifting and encourages running at lower speeds.