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Most Fuel Efficient Cars

Fuel Efficient Cars- Switching To A Greener Tomorrow

With the crude oil rates touching a historical $175/barrel mark in 2008, a lot of thought has gone into developing alternate fuels and hybrid cars, especially in the US. Chevrolet, Ford and many other American manufacturers are working on the concept and we are expected to see a few prototypes in the coming few years. Currently, only two of the most fuels efficient cars are available to the regular consumer in the US. These are the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Crude has not been the only reason behind many companies investing a lot in the R&D of such models- global warming and the world-wide agitation against pollution are the other major factors prompting this change.

Technically speaking, a car is termed “efficient” in terms of fuel consumption if it covers at least 40 miles in a gallon of Gasoline. Going by this standard, Europe had more than 110 brands of the most fuel efficient cars in the world in 2007. This number has increased from 85 such car brands in 2006 and is expected to be around the 125 mark by the end of 2008. There is a striking difference in this number when compared to the US, and that is the main reason of concern for many developing nations. Cars in Asia are intrinsically highly-fuel efficient, given the lower per-capita income in most of the third world nations.

The worst part about this set-up is that out of some hundred most fuel efficient cars that are available in Europe, but not in the US, a large number is manufactured by US based companies. Those which are not a part of the US based company profile, are manufactured by Asian giants such as Nissan and Toyota, which have a huge share of their manufacturing in the US. Citroen’s C1, which is a diesel powered vehicle, for example, given an impressive mileage of 57+ miles per gallon and unfortunately this car is not available to the US consumer. The policy makers have given an excuse that Asian cars and primarily those being used in the European markets do not meet the safety standards of the US, whereas, on a running a checklist-based comparison, we found out that most of the worlds most fuel efficient cars which are not available in the US not only comply with the safety standards, rather surpass them in most cases.

California is one state in the US which is very conscious about its carbon emissions and therefore, two of the most fuel efficient cars in the US- the Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid account for most of their sales in California.

The main reason being cited by many analysts reveals that there are two main factors which are prohibiting the average car owner in the US to shift to better and more efficient option. First of all, the average consumption set by the government in the US is just 27.5 miles per gallon, which is far less than the 40 miles/gallon being followed in most of the parts of Europe and Asia, meaning that the drivers are not compelled to fine-tune their driving and cars for better fuel efficiency. Secondly, most cars in Europe and Asia run of more efficient diesel engines, whereas in the US, most cars run on petrol engines, resulting in lower efficiency standards. Apart from this, diesel is a cheaper fuel option as well. Besides, gas being almost double the rate in Europe as compared to the US, car manufacturers have made a shift from heftier fuel guzzling engines to more revamped and focused fuel efficient ones.

Some of the most fuel efficient cars that are there in the market today are the WV Lupo, running an astounding 33 kilometers per liter of gas, the Toyota Prius (24 KPL), Opel Astra (23 KPL) and the Ford Escape hybrid (22.5 KPL). The main factor that has resulted in the enhancement of the efficiencies of these cars and made the some of the most fuel efficient cars in the world is that Europe has strict norms pertaining to fuel efficiency, and every car manufacturer has to comply with them. Euro-3 norm is the latest and sets the standard for better fuel efficiency.

Besides, almost each of these cars is laden with turbo charged diesel engines, which are far more efficient than supercharged petrol equivalents. Hybrids, as we all know, make optimum use of electricity and gas. When you need power, the car automatically shifts to gas, and when you are waiting at the lights or going slow, the car shifts to the electric motor, resulting in the conservation of gas and better fuel efficiency. Looking at the current need to conserve oil, it is not only important, rather necessary, for every country, especially the developed ones like the US, to switch to more efficient options. This is the only way we can save some energy for our future generations else the day is not far when everyone will be back to bicycles instead of cars.

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