Living in a Fuel Efficient Future

Fuel-efficient vehicles have become increasingly popular with consumers in recent years as fluctuations in fuel prices and environmental concerns serve only to highlight the necessity for new technologies capable of dealing with these pressing issues. Whilst some of the ideas such as reducing the overall drag and weight of vehicles are more obvious to consumers, it is the combination of such advances with the use of new fuel technologies which is likely to make the most impact. With that in mind, here are the three main technologies which manufacturers are relying on to usher in a new age of fuel efficiency:

Hybrid vehicles

Manufacturers such as Toyota have seen sales of their hybrid vehicles exceeding initial expectations as people respond to the convenience and familiarity of a car which opts to combine the savings of an electric cell with the convenience and reliance of a more traditional internal combustion engine. High profile celebrity purchases have seen the acceptance of cars such as the Toyota Prius growing at a steady rate, with hybrids now making up nearly half of all Toyota’s sales in Japan.

All-electric vehicles

Vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf are starting to offer a more attractive version of all-electric battery powered technology which has previously been criticised for the low mileage achievable between charges. This, coupled with the difficulty of locating appropriate charging stations has meant uptake of electric vehicles has been relatively slow amongst the general population, although sales have improved in recent years.

Fuel Cell Vehicles

Although the technology is still currently in its infancy, the next two to three years will see the introduction of the first truly viable fuel cell vehicles available to the public. Just like the battery-powered electric vehicles that are currently on the market , these are driven by electric motors, but uniquely, they utilise a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate their power, thus eliminating the use for any reliance on fossil fuels. Expectations for the technology are high as vehicles running on such cells will dramatically reduce emissions, as well as being exceedingly cheap to operate.

What all this means is that there is an increasingly diverse range of options available for those drivers looking to invest in the future of the planet whilst hopefully driving down the cost of motoring at the same time. Technological advances are often driven by necessity and it is clear that with the increasing visibility of electric, hybrid (and soon fuel cell) vehicles, the requirement to produce cars that can be run cheaply, and without causing damage to the environment is only set to increase.

Buying More Fuel Thanks to Lower Prices? Probably Not

Remember last spring and summer, when the price of gasoline seemed to hit a new record high with each passing day?  We were worried gas was soon going to become too expensive for us to commute to and from work, and we would have to choose between filling up our tanks or filling up our stomachs.

In an effort to help keep our budgets balanced, many of us cut back on our discretionary driving, only filled up our tanks half way, used public transportation more, and even gave up our our cars and trucks for bicycles and walking shoes.

Seems so long ago now, doesn’t it?

Since hitting a record high of $4.12 per gallon back in mid-July, the price of gasoline has fallen nearly 60%, and now stands at $1.68 per gallon.  The last time the price of gasoline was this low was back in April 2004.

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Fuel Economy Log Weeks 25 – 37

Needless to say, I have been very laid back when it has come publishing my fuel economy logs.  I’ve received a couple of emails from people asking me if I’ve stopped publishing the logs because I’ve started to get worse gas mileage and I didn’t want to seem like a hypocrite.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case.  I’m still getting great gas mileage and the only explanation is that I’ve been too lazy to translate my data to words.  So now that I have a lazy Sunday afternoon to myself, I thought it would be a great idea to go ahead and update my fuel economy logs.

Over the past four months I have driven 7,212.70 miles, used 221.22 gallons of gas and paid, on average, $2.20 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average fuel economy of 32.60 miles per gallon, which is about 12.43% higher than my car’s usual average.

This 12.43% increase in gas mileage equates to a savings of roughly $.27 per gallon, which over the past four months has equated to a total savings of $60.48, which is enough for about two fill ups.

When I combine my four month savings with my prior 24 weeks savings, I’ve saved $175.98 over the past three-quarters of a year.  And considering gas prices are only going to continue to go up, this number should continue to drastically increase.

Fuel Economy Log Weeks 23 & 24

Since I haven’t been too diligent in keeping up with my Fuel Economy Logs, I’ve got to make up for two weeks – so here we go:

During week 23, I drove 358.9 miles, used 10.943 gallons of gas, and paid $2.20 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average fuel economy of 32.80 mpg, about 13.1% better than my car’s usual average.

This 13.1% increase equates to a $.29 per gallon savings, which on this particular fill up amounts to a total savings of $3.17.

During week 24, I drove 372.2 miles, used 11.02 gallons and paid $2.16 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average fuel economy of 33.77 mpg, roughly 16.4% better than my car’s usual average.

This 16.4% increase equates to a per gallon savings of $.36, which adds up to a total savings of $3.97 on this particular fill up.

When I combine the two weeks’ savings with my previous 22 week savings, my 24 week savings comes out to $115.50.  Not too shabby.

Fuel Economy Log – Week 22

This past week I drove 365.5 miles, used 11.031 gallons of gas and paid $2.20 per gallon, all of which equates to a gas mileage of 33.13 mpg, which is 14.25% higher than my car’s average gas mileage.

This 14.25% increase represents a per gallon savings of roughly $.31, which ultimately ended up saving me $3.46 on this particular tank of gas.

Combining this week’s savings with my previous 21 week total, I have now saved $108.36, which is enough to pay for about four fill ups.  For just changing a few of my driving habits, that’s not a bad deal!

Fuel Economy Log – Week 21

This past week I drove 333.5 miles, used 9.84 gallons of gas and paid $2.26 per gallon, all of which equates to an average fuel economy of 33.89 mpg, 16.86% above my car’s typical gas mileage.

This 16.86% gas mileage increase, which equates to a per gallon savings of roughly $.38.  Since I used 9.84 gallons of gas, I was able to save $3.75 on this particular fill up.

Combining this week’s savings with my previous 20 week total, I have now saved $104.90 on gas.  Not bad.

Fuel Economy Log – Week 20

This past week I drove 339 miles, used 10.317 gallons of gas and paid $2.34 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average fuel economy of 32.85 miles per gallon or 13.3% above my car’s average gas mileage.

This 13.3% increase equates to a per gallon savings of $.31, which saved me roughly $3.21 on this particular fill up.

Combining this week’s savings with my previous 19 week total, I have finally broken the $100 mark and have now saved $101.15 on gas.  This puts me on pace to save over $260 on gas this year.

Not bad!

Fuel Economy Log – Week 19

This week was action packed full of driving, so I’ve broken this week’s Fuel Economy Log in to two parts:

Part 1 – I drove 359.7 miles, used 9.886 gallons of gas and paid $2.42 per gallon, all of which equates to a fuel economy 36.38 miles per gallon, which is 25.4% above my car’s average. 

This 25.4% increase in gas mileage equates to a savings of $.61 per gallon, or $6.03 for this fill up.

Part 2 – I drove 363.4 miles, used 10.033 gallons and paid $2.46 per gallon, all of which equates to a fuel economy of 36.22 miles per gallon, which is 24.9% above my car’s average.

This 24.9% increase in gas mileage equates to a per gallon savings of $.61, which saved me $6.15 on this particular fill up.

Combining the two savings with my previous 18 week total, I have now saved $97.94 on gas, which puts me on pace to save nearly $270 on gas this year.

Fuel Economy Log – Week 18

This past week I drove 305.1 miles, used 9.563 gallons and paid 2.60 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average fuel economy of 31.90 mpg or 10% above my car’s average gas mileage.

This 10% increase equates to a savings of roughly $.26 per gallon, which saved me $2.49 on this particular fill up.

Combining this week’s total savings with my previous 17 week total, I have now saved $85.76, and am still on pace to save $250 this year.

Fuel Economy Log – Week 17

This past week I drove 319.9 miles, used 9.474 gallons of gas and paid $2.76 per gallon, all of which adds up to an average gas mileage of 33.77 miles per gallon, or 16.44% above my car’s average.

This 16.44% increase equates to a savings of roughly $.45 per gallon, which saved me $4.26 on this fill up.

Combining this week’s average savings with my previous 16 week total, I have now saved $83.27 on gas.  Not too shabby.

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