CAR CARE: Fuel efficiency a weighty issue with increasing costs of gasoline

NANAIMO: he heavier your vehicle is the more energy it needs to move.

The heavier your vehicle is the more energy it needs to move, so it makes sense to pay attention to the size and weight of the vehicle you intend to drive.

Consider these facts from the office of energy efficiency for vehicles at Natural Resources Canada:

* Heavier vehicles have greater inertia and greater rolling resistance, which both contribute to increased fuel consumption.

* Reducing weight means reducing fuel consumption.Increasingly stringent government fuel consumption legislation and evolving consumer preferences are making a difference.

It is increasingly common to see automakers advertising their weight reduction initiatives. Automakers are achieving weight reductions by substituting lighter materials, such as aluminum and advanced composites, as well as vehicle design changes.

These improvements enable additional weight reductions, since other vehicle components may then be downsized, ultimately leading to engine downsizing with no sacrifice in performance – the less weight you have, the less weight you need.

* Reducing weight means reducing fuel cost. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that for every 100-kilogram weight reduction, the adjusted, combined city/highway fuel consumption could decrease by about 0.4 l/100 km for cars, and about 0.5 l/100 km for light trucks. Today’s cars and light trucks range in weight from about 1,000 kg to 3,800 kg.

* Only buy what you need. When possible, choose a smaller vehicle with a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine.

The NRCan Fuel Consumption Guide is a great resource to help you compare fuel consumption between different vehicles and vehicle types.

* Don’t carry unneeded items in your trunk as the extra weight will increase your fuel consumption.

Reducing weight is one of the ways you can save on fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There are more tips on fuel efficiency on the Natural Resources Canada website at www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca.

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