I am a road-test editor by trade. Testing fuel-efficiency is a key part of my job. It seems odd that the EPA, NHTSA and CARB have teamed up on TAR, but that the DOE and USDA have been left out.
The Oak Ridge National Labs work on this topic is crucial. The world’s largest automobile manufacturers are all turning to highly-efficient downsized, down-speeded small displacement forced-induction engines. They produce more power with less weight.
Modern forced induction small-displacement engines LOVE high-octane low-carbon fuel. The most cost-effective way to achieve high-octane is with ethanol.
I have begun fuel efficiency testing with E15 fuel. My first E10 vs E15 test with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco produced remarkable results:
I hailed an Uber when I was in Charlotte a while back. When the car arrived, I was surprised to see that it was a Dodge Caravan. The Uber driver explained that he bought his Caravan because Minivans are eligible for UberXL which can generate more revenue. He also wanted to provide the most comfortable and convenient ride for his customers.
Some Uber drivers will tell you that the Toyota Prius is the best car to use. But that’s largely because it’s so good on gas, not because it’s the best ride for their customers.
The Dodge Caravan and the new Chrysler Pacifica are Flex Fuel vehicles. They can run ethanol blends up to E85. Ethanol burns cleaner and is 100% domestic. Department of Energy (DOE) Research says an E30 blend – 30 percent ethanol – may deliver the optimal price/performance ratio.
There are a lot of folks that think a four-cylinder engine is just about the worst thing you could drop between the fenders of a pony car. I’m not one of them (anymore). While I was skeptical initially, after spending a week in the saddle of an EcoBoost Mustang, I’ve come around to the idea. A traditional muscle car must always have a V8 under the hood. But a pony car can be wicked fun (and fast), without traditional muscle.
I put a Guard Green EcoBoost Mustang Premium to a week-long test. It was fitted with the six-speed automatic, and 201A – Equipment Group (which includes the Shaker Audio System, Memory Driver’s Seat, Blind Spot Mirrors and cross-traffic alert) along with with adaptive cruise control. This is the most refined Mustang I’ve ever driven, edging out the 2015 Mustang GT I tested last month.
I’ve been waiting to test Ethanol Free Gasoline (E0) for eons, but I could never find a local service station that carries it. Blame it on the lawmakers. As it turns out, New Jersey state law stipulates that all of the gas sold here must contain ten percent ethanol. Thankfully, ethanol-free gas is sold on the other side of the Delaware River, fifty odd miles from home. I took Slambo for a ride today, to fill up with E0 for the first time. I intend to test it over a number of tanks.
Turbocharging allows a small displacement engine to achieve significantly higher levels of horsepower (HP) and torque on demand, while delivering more miles per gallon (MPG) in light-load conditions. Once thought of purely from a performance perspective, forced induction technology has become a cornerstone of the march to higher fuel efficiency. You can have your cake and eat it too.
The top 15 list of highest combined MPG 2015 vehicles includes a mix of diesel and gasoline powered models, with the VW Jetta Hybrid taking the top spot. The Jetta Hybrid’s superior city fuel efficiency provides a significant advantage in tough traffic.