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How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy

How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
Ⓒ Provided by MUO

By Shannon Flynn, MUO

Fuel economy and gas prices are ongoing concerns for many drivers. That’s primarily because prices at the pump are often higher than they’d like. Plus, at least for now, most cars on the roads won’t work without fuel. So let’s explore some of the causes of bad gas mileage and how tech could bring improvements.

Read More: Which is more expensive: charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?

Why Is My Gas Going Down so Fast?

How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
Ⓒ Provided by MUO

Many drivers look at the gas gauge in dismay, wondering how a full tank’s worth of gas is already almost gone so quickly. Unfortunately, there are numerous possible reasons for this problem. Fortunately, some are easy fixes.

As you start exploring excessive fuel consumption causes to see which ones might apply, start by checking the vehicle’s tire pressure. Improper tire pressure can worsen fuel economy.

Examine your driving behaviors, too. Idling, revving the engine, and fast starts are some of the habits that can waste gas.

If your car suddenly begins getting worse gas mileage, review some of your recent trips. Traveling in significantly different ways than usual, such as doing more city driving when you typically only use your car in the countryside, can cause gas mileage changes.

Otherwise, it’s worth getting your car checked by a mechanic. Problems with components, including fuel injectors, spark plugs, and oxygen sensors, can negatively affect gas mileage.

What Is Considered Bad Gas Mileage?

There are no universal figures or ranges representing good or bad fuel economy. That’s because factors including the size and type of engine and the fuel’s octane rating make a difference.

However, you can track how much gas your car typically uses and note any trends. One relatively straightforward option is to measure how much fuel your car uses per 100 miles of travel. Most cars include an odometer you can reset between trips to the gas pump, which will help you gauge how much mileage you get per tank.

5 Ways to Increase Your Fuel Economy With Technology

How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
Ⓒ Provided by MUO

Today’s drivers have a growing assortment of fuel economy technologies to consider. Here’s a look at some of them and how they work.

1. Fuel Economy Smartphone Apps

Smartphone apps that help you log and monitor fuel consumption are easy to use, and many are free. Some of them also show you the cheapest gas prices in the area or assist with navigation.

2. Automatic Stop/Start Technology

Automatic stop/start technology works through numerous sensors that detect certain vehicle characteristics, such as whether a person has applied the brake or put it in neutral. It can turn the car’s motor off during idle time, such as at stoplights. Then, the engine starts by itself once the driver releases the brake.

Research indicates this feature can improve a car’s fuel economy by more than eight percent in heavy traffic. It also does not cause additional strain on the car’s starter.

3. Driver-Activated Modes

How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
Ⓒ Provided by MUO

Modern cars often have various fuel-economy modes that people can turn on or off as desired. Their names vary slightly depending on the car’s make. Honda calls it Econ mode, while other brands use the slightly shortened Eco moniker.

Some cars also have gliding or sailing settings. They reduce fuel consumption by letting the vehicle coast downhill. Drivers cannot necessarily use these modes in all cases. Manufacturers often set them up to only activate if a car is within a specific speed range.

Read More: This Is How Much Gas You Should Keep in Your Tank

4. Aerodynamic Features

Many cars have physical characteristics that reduce drag and, in turn, improve fuel economy. For example, active grille shutters can periodically close the openings on a car’s front, boosting gas mileage and helping the vehicle warm up faster.

Spoilers might also improve gas mileage, but only under certain conditions. Those include the car’s speed and the air movement through the spoiler.

Automotive engineers are also pursuing better aerodynamics by making cars from lighter, stronger materials. Statistics suggest that reducing a car's weight by 10 percent could result in a fuel efficiency improvement of six to eight percent.

5. Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles help you use less gas because they’re partially electric-powered. Electric vehicles often recapture energy for the car’s battery through regenerative braking. Hybrid cars frequently have that technology, too.

One owner of a Toyota Prius shared his techniques for getting 50 miles per gallon despite having an older model. Of course, buying a hybrid vehicle requires making a significant decision, but it could help you save on gas.

No Universally Magic Technology for Better Fuel Economy

Most fuel-efficient cars have several technologies working together for the best results. However, you’ll see the best outcomes by actively trying to break bad driving habits that could burn more fuel than necessary.

Consider picking a couple of fuel-efficiency strategies to use regularly for a month. Track the fuel used throughout and compare it to the consumption before doing anything differently. Taking a methodical approach will help you see what works and may shape your decision to eventually upgrade your vehicle.

See more at MUO

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Autos Magazine: How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
How Tech Can Help Your Car’s Fuel Economy
Whether gas prices are high or low, any extra fuel saved is always appreciated.
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