Published On: Mon, Nov 17th, 2014

How Do Today’s Modern Cars Increase Your Gas Mileage?

Engine technology has come a long way since the first cars of the late 19th century. Today’s motors have more power and emit less harmful greenhouse gases. Aside from carbon emissions, one of the biggest concerns to motorists is gas mileage.


It’s no secret that the price of gas has gone up quite a lot in recent years, not just here in the US but around the world. Most places are still recovering from the global economic crisis. And many are struggling to keep their cars on the road due to high gas prices.

The good news is that today’s engines use less gas than ones from previous generations of cars. But have you ever wondered what technology goes into saving you money at the gas station? Here are some common examples for you to feast your eyes on!

Gasoline Direct Injection

Some new cars for sale such as Mazda models have GDI or “gasoline direct injection” technology. Most of us know that today’s modern cars have fuel injection. So what is the difference between that and “direct” injection?

In a conventional engine, gas gets injected into the engine’s intake system where it mixes with air. The mixture then gets compressed by the pistons in each cylinder and ignited by the spark plug as part of the combustion process.

To make the combustion process more efficient, more engines are injecting gas direct to the cylinders. In essence, doing so bypasses the intake system. The only downside to gasoline direct injection is that it’s expensive to manufacture.

Still, the trade-off is that consumers will pay less for their gas because they won’t have to fill up their tanks as much.

Gas shut-off during deceleration

One method of saving gas that carmakers are exploring is shutting off gas to the engine during deceleration. As you know, when your car slows down it often sits at idle speed. With this latest innovation, this doesn’t need to happen.

That’s because the engine can use its own momentum to keep itself running until the car stops or the driver accelerates again. It’s a pretty interesting way of conserving gas, and one I suspect that will become commonplace in cars of the future.

Forced induction

When you get insurance for your performance car, your premiums are high if your car’s got a powerful engine. Carmakers that build high-performance cars often add forced induction components. Two common examples include turbochargers and superchargers.

There is one exception where insurance prices don’t increase. And that is where cars have otherwise “standard” engines and aren’t sporty or high-performance in any way. To drive down carbon emissions, forced induction is gaining widespread use in the new cars of today.

Ford’s EcoBoost engines, for instance, use small engines with turbochargers for two reasons. First, it gives an added boost of power to a small-displacement motor. And, second, it lowers CO2 emissions.

The reason carmakers use forced induction to lower emissions is simple. If there is more air getting into the intake, the combustion process will become more efficient. As a result, less fuel gets burnt, and you end up with more gas in your tank!

Turbochargers and superchargers are “bolt-on” modifications. They are inexpensive for carmakers to fit, and they make cars more desirable to consumers.

Deactivating cylinders

Although this is not a new innovation, deactivating cylinders is a good way of conserving gas on engines. My last car was around 14 years old and had a V6 motor that used this technology.

In a nutshell, the idea behind the technology is that you don’t need to use the full power available from your engine at all times. Let’s face it; if you’re in traffic like the above photo example, you won’t need to use your total engine potential!

You will usually see this technology in big engines; i.e. six-cylinder and above. Various carmakers from BMW to General Motors use this technology even today.

Start-stop technology

Many of today’s new cars feature start-stop technology. The way that it works is pretty simple. When your car is stationary for more than a set amount of time, the engine shuts itself off.

As soon as you put your foot on the gas pedal, the engine starts itself up again. When your car is idling, it uses gas just like it would when you drive it. So if you’re not going anywhere, the motor might as well not be running, right?

Despite what some people think, engines don’t use lots of gas when you turn them on. Start-stop technology is also available on cars with manual transmissions. Although you have to put the car into neutral to enable it.

Brake regeneration

It’s an obvious fact that everyone that drives a car has to brake at some point in their journey. If you think about it, there is a lot of wasted energy that occurs when you brake. But what if there was a way of putting that wasted energy to good use?

Many of today’s hybrid cars use a technology called brake regeneration. What happens is whenever you brake, the kinetic energy expelled gets converted to electricity. That electricity can then get used to charge batteries.

The technology isn’t just used for hybrid cars only these days. BMW, for instance, use the same technology on some of their “conventional” cars. They claim that gas mileage is better because the motor doesn’t have to work hard to charge the car’s battery.

Automatic transmissions

Believe it or not, driving a car with a modern automatic transmission can help you to increase your gas mileage! Many years ago manual cars offered better gas mileage than automatics. That’s because those older automatics suffered from transmission loss.

Today’s automatics have efficient clutches built into them. Not only are those cars just as powerful as their manual counterparts, they are also gas-efficient too!

Well, that just about wraps up today’s blog post on gas efficiency technology. I hope you have enjoyed reading it today.