December 25, 2008

Factors that Influence the Gas Mileage

Factors that Influence the Gas Mileage

Rated to run from 20 mpg to 60 mpg, hybrid cars are designed for maximum fuel economy. But aside from its second source of power, what other factors can influence gas mileage? Here are those factors,

Size of the engine. It is quite ironic that the more powerful your engine is, the larger and heavier it becomes. So much of the additional power will be used just to carry the extra weight of the engine. Hybrid solves it by putting a small engine with an electric motor. Moreover, small engine has small cylinders that consume less fuel both at stop and while cruising. This makes hybrid cars more fuel efficient. Hybrid car engines are smaller and are significantly lighter, thus reducing the total weight of the car.

Driving condition (with respect to the hybrid car's internal structure). A hybrid car can either be parallel or series. With a parallel drive train, the car runs more fuel efficient on the highway. Series hybrids on the other hand work well in stop-and-go traffic.

Car Design/Aerodynamics. When driving at high speeds, the car's engine works more because it has to push the car through the air. This is called aerodynamic drag. And the faster the car is, the greater the aerodynamic drag it has to overcome. Hybrid cars work well both at slow and high speed because it's design to cut through air that reduces the drag, thus increasing fuel economy. Low-rolling resistance tires, which are stiffer and inflated to higher pressure can further cut the drag and increase the fuel mileage of the car.

Vehicle Weight. When the car is heavy, the engine has to inject more fuel to the cylinder in order to push it forward. So in order to increase fuel economy, hybrid cars are made with lighter materials such as magnesium and aluminum or composite materials like carbon fiber.

Driving habits. Whether you are driving a hybrid or not, driving habits can definitely influence the gas mileage of your car. Hard braking and abrupt acceleration wastes a lot of energy. Even if your hybrid has the regenerative braking system, the maximum amount of energy cannot be recaptured back to your battery. Abrupt acceleration on the other hand requires more power from both the electric motor and the combustion engine which equates to more fuel consumption. To increase gas mileage, anticipate braking distance, step on the brake softly, and accelerate gently.

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