Understanding Fuel Economy

Fuel economy

What fuel economy means and why it's important to our environment and our wallets

 We all know that fuel efficient cars are best for our environment and our budgets, but what exactly is fuel economy? In this article, we examine the basics of fuel economy, what it means and why it's important to preserving our natural resources and our finances.

The Fuel Economy Unit of Measurement

Fuel economy is a unit of measurement of the amount of fuel needed to power a vehicle over a certain distance. In the U.S., it is most commonly a measurement of how many miles a car can travel on one gallon of gasoline, best known as miles per gallon or MPG.  Hence, the higher the MPG, the better the fuel economy. Through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the government measures fuel economy for all vehicles. By law, the EPA MPG rating must be listed on the sticker of every new car sold in the U.S. Currently, MPG ratings can range from as high as 50 to 60 miles per gallon as estimated for the Toyota Prius Hybrid, and as low as eight to 10 miles per gallon as estimated for the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster. To research the MPG ratings for your car, visit www.fueleconomy.gov.

The Importance of Fuel Economy

Why is fuel economy important? By taking fuel economy into consideration, we can determine what impact our individual car is having on our natural resources and the environment.  We're also able to make more responsible buying decisions when it comes to our next vehicle purchase. 

There are additional benefits to measuring fuel economy, including:

  • Fuel savings

    By choosing to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, the potential annual fuel savings could range anywhere from several hundred dollars to over $1,000 or more. When it comes to buying a fuel efficient car, it pays to do your homework since MPG ratings can vary widely across similar makes and models.
  • Decreased dependence on foreign oil

    Over 60 percent of petroleum used in the U.S. is imported. Not only are we dependent on imported petroleum, we're also at the mercy of foreign oil prices which greatly impact our economy. As the production of more fuel efficient cars increases, we can decrease our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Environmental awareness

    A car with better fuel economy and better gas mileage produces decreased carbon and greenhouse gasses emissions, both of which are harmful to the environment. You can find out your car's carbon footprint by visiting www.fueleconomy.gov.
  • The preservation of non-renewable natural resources

    The majority of cars on the road today are fueled by gasoline and diesel fuels, both of which are made from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are formed by the natural resources of buried dead organisms that lived millions of years ago. Because they take millions of years to form, fossil fuels are non-renewable resources — resources that are being depleted much faster than new ones can be formed. By driving more fuel efficient vehicles, we're able to decrease our use of non-renewable forms of energy.

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