Efficiency Equals Economy

by : dennis james

With the world as we know it being in danger of overheating from carbon emissions and ever rising gas prices, more and more car manufacturers and consumers themselves are more aware that cars need become more fuel efficient.

By having a more efficient car, you can contribute to saving the atmosphere as well as make great leaving more money n your pocket, as better efficiency means lower amounts of fuel consumed.

There are several options that scientists and engineers are studying and hydrogen if one of them. This chemical element can appear to be the answer to our fuel problem. The problems with hydrogen is that it requires a very strong car chassis (hydrogen is very dangerous gas when it is stored under pressure) and special fueling stations, fueling stations that are almost impossible to find today in the US.

In Europe they have built several fueling stations for hydrogen fueled cars, but for scientific purposes only. The infrastructure for hydrogen, as a stand alone system, is beyond the horizon and that is why, for the moment being, we should be looking for alternatives to hydrogen as a general use car fuel. .

Hydrogen, even small amounts, increases the efficiency of other fuels. Most automotive hydrogen is produced by splitting hydrogen and oxygen from a water source that includes a catalyst. The overall gain, from working with various systems of that type, is 5% to 8%. If you compare to fuel efficiency of cars now, any gain is good, but things are pretty far from hydrogen becoming mainstream anytime soon.

The key to fuel economy and energy saving is efficiency. Gasoline used in today's car is rated according to its octane number. The higher the octane, the more efficient the fuels combustion. The slower the burn, to a certain point, the higher the octane. If there are small amounts of water vapors that get into the gas and air mix, the result is a slower burn and a higher octane number.

That is why, for example, on a foggy day there is a higher percentage of water vapor in the air, increasing horsepower. The horsepower increase on a foggy day is due to increased efficiency which is due in a round about way to the octane increase. When octane is increased, the timing can be advanced, which contributes to an earlier spark and the opportunity for a longer burn. This does not meat however that you should add water to your fuel! It just shows that there are several ways to increase the efficiency of a car's engine and fuel burning capacities.

Modern cars have onboard computers that take care of the mix of the fuel and air that gets into the engine and sometimes just a few minor modifications are required to the software that drives the car to obtain a better efficiency level out of the engine. With the proper computer sensors installed in a car, they can monitor the exhaust and lean the mixture if the engine is running cool enough. For example, in today's engines, 60% to 80% of the fuel is used to cool internal parts. For comparison purposes, water is about 200 times more efficient at cooling than gasoline or diesel.

The air that goes in the engine is equally important when it comes to horsepower and fuel efficiency. The engine needs to breathe and if the airways are restricted, the engine will not be able to reach its maximum efficiency level. That is why clean and efficient air filters are sometimes the key behind obtaining more power and fuel economy out of your car.