When gasoline prices first jumped in the summer of 2005, consumer interest in fuel efficient cars increased dramatically. Individuals that were used to paying around $20 to fill up their cars were suddenly paying over $50. That summer was a wake up call for everyone that thought paying $3.00 or more for a gallon of gasoline would never happen.
We've already talked about some of the technologies that make cars more fuel efficient. But as a reminder, efficiency is a function of the car's weight, friction, and the efficiency of the engine itself. Producing a fuel efficient car means attacking all three of these areas.
We would expect the top performing automobiles on the market today to exhibit these types of characteristics:
We're going to get right to the point, and provide a list of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road today (2018 / 2019 models). Later, we will talk briefly about some of the concept cars that are going to hit the market in the next several years.
The list below contains the make and model of the car as well as the Miles per Gallon (MPG) rating for a combination of city and highway driving:
Over the next several years, the industry is going to see an important new technology emerge: fuel cells. Right now, fuel cell vehicles (FCV) are not expected to reach the mass market until at least 2019, but this new technology has some manufacturers and environmentalists excited.
FCVs bring to the market such benefits as reduced emissions, lower dependence on foreign oil, as well as a fuel economy benefit. That means a FCV is not only environmentally friendly, but it's also cheap (actually inexpensive) to operate.
Just like battery powered electric vehicles, FCVs are driven by electric motors. But unlike electric vehicles with batteries, FCVs are able to generate their own electricity through a chemical process involving hydrogen gas and oxygen.
FCVs that are fueled by hydrogen gas will emit zero pollutants, only water and heat. If hydrogen rich fuel such as methanol or natural gas is used, a reformer is utilized to extract the hydrogen atoms.
These cars are so new that only prototypes are in development right now, but the results are encouraging. The current list of FCV cars includes:
With new technologies come new concepts too, such as miles per kilogram of fuel. A kilogram is around 2.2 pounds of fuel, which is the way that hydrogen gas will be measured. Another challenge with these vehicles right now is cruising range, which should only get better with time.
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