Get ready for a turbocharged 3-cylinder!
As part of the race to improve fuel economy across the auto industry, Ford said yesterday it plans to introduce its smallest engine ever by 2013.
The new turbocharged 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine will be available in small cars globally, though Ford hasn’t let slip which cars those will be (though the Fiesta is probably a safe bet).
The engine will reportedly have the same power output as the Blue Oval’s 1.6-liter, 120-hp 4-cylinder mill but get around 50 mpg on the highway. Sounds to me like a modern take on the old 3-cylinder Suzuki Swifts and Chevy Metros of the 1990s! I love the idea and look forward to driving one.
For those who want to start saving on gas right away, we recommend either buying an old Swift or keeping the car you have and following these tips:
The obvious tips you can find anywhere are to keep your tires properly inflated and your engine tuned up. Combined, those two bits of simple maintenance can potentially save you a lot of cash at the pump.
As part of a properly tuned car, make sure the oxygen sensor is working correctly. A bad one can cause as much as a 40 percent reduction in fuel economy! Also use the recommended grade of motor oil. If you use 10W-30 when the manufacturer calls for 5W-20, you’ll pay a few cents’ penalty for every gallon you pump. Ouch.
Conventional knowledge also says to change a dirty air filter to see an improvement in mileage, but that has recently been proven not to be the case. You’ll see better performance with a clean filter, but no fuel economy benefit (unless you drive a pre-1980s carbureted vehicle).
Altering the way you drive can provide an even bigger return on fuel costs. You could try hypermiling techniques, or just make small adjustments to your daily driving habits. I won’t even mention to avoid drag-racing when the light turns green. Every idiot on Earth knows that just pours gas down the drain.
If your company allows it, alter the time you leave home in the morning to avoid rush hour. Then on the way home from work, make your grocery stops instead of heading out again later.
Take everything out of (and off of) your car that you don’t need. One list says that every 250 pounds of stuff you haul decreases fuel economy by 1 mpg. So carry the golf clubs only when you go golfing, use the bike rack only when you carry bikes, and don’t forget to take the sand bags out of your trunk when Spring arrives.
In short, just be smart about driving. For too long we in the U.S. have relied so heavily on our cars that we use them as an extension of ourselves. Many of us have forgotten that our legs are actually attached to us and not sitting on four tires out in the garage.
Walk or bike when you can, and use the car as the luxury it is, not as the crutch we’ve all turned it into. At least until 2013. Then just pick up a turbo 3-banger and drive all you want.
Do you have any gas saving tips?