Techniques and Cars Fuel Economy Enthusiasts Use
Most car enthusiasts are interested in the performance of all their favorite cars. The thing is there are all different types of performance characteristics you can measure when it comes to cars. What most people mean by performance is the horsepower output, zero to sixty times and how fast a car can speed down a quarter mile drag strip.
For a small sector of the auto enthusiast niche performance is more about fuel economy. Some people might not find MPG figures very exciting but for some car buffs it is one of the most exciting metrics they can track. Read on to learn more about car fuel economy and what cars you can get excited about in this niche.
There are different approaches to fuel economy and each automaker takes a bit of a different tack. Some of the car companies actually combine several approaches such as mixing hybrid drive technology with diesel power. Drivers also sometimes take unconventional approaches to getting better fuel mileage out of their cars. There are whole forums dedicated the swapping methods of increasing fuel economy through adding custom wheel covers, using fuel additives and trying special driving techniques.
One of the techniques that some drivers use is to switch off the engine or put their vehicles in neutral when possible and coast rather than allowing the engine to turn the wheels. Naturally care has to be taken since turning off the engine reduces steering and braking capacity so this is not a particularly safe technique although there is nothing wrong with shifting into neutral where appropriate.
Top Fuel Efficent Cars: The VW Jetta TDI
One of the top cars in the fuel economy conscious community is the VW Jetta TDI. While a regular gas powered Jetta might do well to get 30-35 miles per gallon owners of TDI models regularly get 50 MPG or more without extra effort and as much as 71 MPG by drawing from a bag of techniques that includes fuel additives and just plain slow driving.
As you know driving at high speeds can have a negative effect on fuel economy so depending on your vehicle and its configuration better fuel economy can sometimes be achieved by driving more slowly. There is a limit to the returns you get from slowing down of course. Jetta TDI owners report that driving around 52 MPH yields the best fuel economy numbers.
The Jetta has seen quite a few redesigns over the years and though it used to be quite an anemic car that produced 60 HP a modern VW Jetta features a 4 cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that produces 140 HP and 236 lb-ft of torque. While the modern Jetta features a lower EPA fuel economy rating than some of the earlier model years owners are still reporting average fuel economy of 44+ MPG.
Top Fuel Efficent Cars: The Toyota Prius
Another car that has a devoted -but slightly different- community of owners is the Toyota Prius. While the VW Jetta uses old-fashioned diesel engine technology the Prius tries to appeal to folks who want the latest hybrid drive technology and like the idea of an electric car. While the Prius is not entirely electrically driven it does give owners better fuel economy than the average gasoline powered car. On the fuel tracking website Fuelly you can see the self-reported mileage figures owner get during daily driving in a number of cars including the Prius.
Average MPG figures for the 2012 Prius run in the 45-50 MPG range. The advantage Prius owners have over diesel Jetta owners is in urban driving where the Toyota can use its battery power to accelerate and drive up to a certain speed. Because urban driving also involves slowing down many times using regenerative braking a hybrid model does quite well in urban driving where a model like the Jetta would not return the same performance.
Now that you’ve seen a couple of the different approaches car fuel economy enthusiasts take to get the best possible fuel economy you can decide if either choice is a good one for you or if your driving needs preclude such enthusiasm in pursuit of the best MPG numbers possible.