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VW L1

Photo by RudolfSimon via Wikimedia Commons

Size matters, but not as much as you think. When it comes to fuel-efficient cars, the best ones have a combination of good aerodynamics, lightweight, low drive line, and a small or medium-size engine.

Eco-friendly cars are the way of the future. More vehicle, parts, and tire manufacturers are coming up with new and creative ways to offer consumers the best fuel-efficient and environmentally-sound cars. Not only do these eco-vehicles save on gas and energy, they do their part for environmental carbon reduction. FuelEconomy.gov reports 1.6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere by highway vehicles each year. That’s 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas. Drivers who choose hybrid and electric vehicles greatly reduce the amount of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere which helps slow climate change.

Motorists may not be able to get their hands on the VW XL1 quite yet, but can still make savvy decisions to wring the best mileage from vehicles fitting the following criteria.

VW claims the XL1 is the most fuel efficient car ever with an estimated 261 mpg.

Vehicle Aerodynamics

Optimal fuel economy requires a vehicle that is aerodynamic. Aerodynamic designs look sleek and can improve fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon, when compared to vehicles that do not move through the air as easily.

The visual profile of a vehicle can help determine whether it is aerodynamic or not. Although some exceptions exist, a boxy shape is usually less aerodynamic than vehicles with a slight curve. Look for cars that curve along the top and back. Avoid vehicles with a clear box-type shape, which will require more effort to move forward.

Use vehicles lower to the ground. Cars with less air flowing below will not be slowed down or fight against wind on the top and bottom of the vehicle.

Vehicle Weight

The weight of the vehicle plays a significant role in fuel efficiency. As a general rule, a heavier car or truck will have a lower mile per gallon, on average, than a lighter vehicle. Tirebuyer.com advises against purchasing a heavy vehicle, like a van or truck, unless it is necessary for your job, family or terrain. It is more fuel efficient to select a Sedan, compact vehicle or Coupe.

Select a vehicle that has a lower weight, if possible. Even if you need a larger vehicle, look at the weight of the vehicle and compare it. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle will cause your fuel efficiency to drop by roughly two percent. Pay attention to the weight of the vehicle when you are making a selection to get better gas mileage within the specific class of vehicles.

Even the type of tires you buy can affect the weight and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Under-inflated tires can make your car work harder and use more gas. Nitrogen-inflated tires lose air four times slower than air-inflated tires that also contain oxygen and water. Inflating your tires with nitrogen is also safer and improves tire wear and rim life.

Select a Vehicle With Low Drive Line Weight

Drive line weight is the weight of moving components within your vehicle. Whether you currently own a vehicle or want to buy a new car, changing out the axles, flywheel, crank shaft and other moving parts for lighter options will reduce your fuel expenses.

Stopping and Starting

Even if you select a vehicle that is designed to have better mileage, your actions behind the wheel will impact your fuel efficiency. The law of inertia states that objects in motion will continue moving until an external force causes it to stop. In the case of a vehicle, applying the brakes will cause it to stop. Unfortunately, if you are constantly stopping and then forcing the car into motion again, it will make your fuel efficiency drop.

The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that aggressive driving will actually reduce your fuel economy by roughly 33 percent. Drive at the speed limit to reduce the impact on your fuel.

Engine size and the amount of horsepower within a vehicle are only one factor that impacts your gas mileage. Before you buy a new car, take the weight of the vehicle and the aerodynamic design into account.

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5 Best Eco-Friendly Family Cars

On May 23, 2013, in Fuel Efficiency, Guest Posts, Hybrid Tires, by allisonmreilly
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eco-friendly vehiclesThis is a guest post from Kristine Vicencio.

Transporting your family is a big deal. Not only do you need a vehicle that allows plenty of space to transport at least more than two people, you need one that is safe and dependable. Even more ideal would be a vehicle that is also eco-friendly. While it may sound too good to be true, eco-friendly family cars are out there. Here are five of the best currently available, curated with the assistance of Parkers, a UK website that helps consumers research cars, insurance and finance.

Nissan Leaf: The Nissan Leaf, although slightly smaller making it possibly not the best fit for a very large family, the Leaf is one of the first entirely electrical vehicles made by Nissan. thought to be a zero-emission car, the Nissan Leaf can go 80 miles on one charge. Although the Nissan Leaf was first released in 2012, the Leaf has quickly become popular and has characteristics that make it ideal for smaller families looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle. Starting at $32,500, the Nissan Leaf is also fairly affordable.

Toyota Prius: Although the Prius may often be thought to be small, it’s actually considered a mid-sized sedan and is much roomier than it looks from the outside. The Toyota Prius is electric and can be entirely recharged within only a few hours, making it an extremely efficient car for families. Even better, the Prius has solid safety features such as a pre-collision system and lane keep assist, which makes it a very attractive eco-friendly car for families.

Toyota RAV4 EV: A nice size for larger families, this nifty SUV is battery-powered and successfully combines the spacious interior of a SUV without the gas-guzzling property. The Toyota RAV4 EV has a high-performance battery that is completely electric and can go approximately 100 miles on a single charge. An excellent choice for larger families, this Toyota SUV is affordable and environmentally friendly.

Ford Escape Hybrid: Both roomy and eco-friendly, the Ford Escape Hybrid has some of the best fuel economy ratings for SUVs in its class. In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Ford Escape Hybrid is also roomy with advanced technological features that make it a perfect fit for families looking for an eco-friendly, yet convenient and larger vehicle.

Chevrolet Equinox: One of the most popular compact SUVs, the Chevrolet Equinox is another fantastic options for larger families seeking an environmentally friendly option. With an option of a V6 engine, the Chevrolet Equinox offers both power and fuel efficiency. Of course, there’s also the option of four-cylinder option as well. The Equinox also has excellent reliability scores making it an attractive prospect for families seeking a larger eco-friendly option.

Maybe now is the time to sell and change to something leaner, greener and cheaper to run? As you can see, there are plenty of vehicles on the market right now that will meet those basic requirements.

If you want to learn more about going green and driving hybrid vehicles (and hybrid tires), then check out our latest white paper on nitrogen tire inflation: 9 Debunked Myths on Nitrogen Tire Inflation. Click the link to download this white paper and to learn how nitrogen tire inflation can help you improve fuel efficiency and tire life.

Related Links:

3 Green Lights Tips for Going Green

How Older Drivers Can Lower Insurance Rates

3 Things You Need to Know about Buying New Tires

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