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Fuel Efficient Automobiles
Energy Conservation - Fuel Efficient Automobiles
The price of gas has been going up steadily in the last two weeks. This is happening just as the weather is getting warmer and many of us are planning to or are heading out on the highways for road trips. It is rather puzzling why the price of gas fluctuates so much and why the government cannot regulate to prevent a few padding their pockets on the backs of the rest of us the consumers. I fully understand the notion of a free market economy, and the economics of supply and demand, but this is getting rediculous now. In April of this year the average price of 1 litre (US .26 gallons, i.e a quarter of a gallon) of regular gas was about 80-85 cents; today it is 97 cents. Why the big difference in price?
Skyrocketing gas price has forced many consumers to become savvier in how they spend their money. This means that we look to purchase or rent the vehicle with the best fuel efficiency and safety record. This is not only good economical sense, it is also considering the impact on the environment. The days of gas-guzzlers are over. We are looking for vehicles that can use alternative sources of energy, not just petroleum. After doing some research online and considering my past experiences with rental vehicles, I decide to write this hub about fuel efficiency automobiles.
Last weekend, my husband, son and I went on a road trip to Columbus Ohio, where our daughter was competing in the 2009 Big Ten Track and Field Championship held at the Ohio State University. We rented a Chrysler Sebring, which did average in terms of gas consumption. It did not perform very well at accelerating or at keeping up with traffic, but has fairly comfortable interior and smooth handling. This car is more ideal for city driving and short distances.
For our trip from Toronto, Ontario to Columbus, Ohio and back, we filled up about four times; twice each way. According to the Sebring specifications, this V4 car gave 11.2 kilometers to the litre and consumes 8.9 litres per 100 kilometers. The average cost to full up was about $30.00, so we spent roughly $130.00 on gas for a trip of 1,365.4 Kilometers (848.42 miles) for the round trip. I give it a passing grade, a C. Previously, we rented the Dodge Charger which is a bigger car, with V6. It gave 11.5 kilometer to the litre and consumed 8.1 litres per 100 kilometers of highway driving. The Dodge Charger was much roomier on the inside and performed much better for the distance. We were keeping up with traffic and sometimes passing.
Even though, the Chrysler Sebring and the Dodge Charger are not in the same class of automobile, I was surprised that there was not much difference in the fuel consumption between both. The difference in performance was very obvious as the Dodge Charger was definitely a better performer with its more powerful engine. As a matter of fact, I'd rent the Dodge Charger again, definitely not the Sebring for that distance. The moral of the scenario is, do your research before your rent a vehicle this summer. You may want to determine the fuel economy of the car, as well as its performance on the road.
According to the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto held in February 2009, more than 10 vehicles on the market in Canada were singled out for their fuel efficiency.
The awards are part of the government's ecoENERGY initiatives, $3.6 million in measures designed to encourage Canadians to use energy more efficiently, increase renewable energy supplies and develop cleaner energy technologies.
The winners in each of the 10 vehicle classes for the model year 2009 are:
- Two-seater car: smart for two/cabriolet ....(Combined estimate: 5.4 l/100 km)
- Subcompact car: Toyota Yaris and Mini Cooper/Cooper Clubman/Cooper Convertible (co-winners) ............Yaris - 7.0 L/100km city; 5.7 L/100km hwy7.7/Mini - L/100 km city, 5.7 L hwy,
- Compact car: Honda Civic Hybrid ............(L/100 km: 4.7 city, 4.3 hwy)
- Mid-size car: Toyota Prius ............. (L/100 km: 7.1 city, 5.5 hwy.)
- Full-size car: Honda Accord sedan and Hyundai Sonata (co-winners) ...Honda(9.9 L/100 km city and 6.5 L/100 km highway/Hyundai - 9.5 L/100km city; 6.2 L/100km hwy)
- Station wagon: Volkswagen Jetta Wagon TDI Clean Diesel ...(9.8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.0 L/100 km on the highway)
- Pickup truck: Ford Ranger and Mazda B2300 (co-winners)
- Special purpose vehicle: Ford Escape Hybrid ...(5.7 L/100 km in city driving and 6.7 L/100 km on the highway)
- Minivan: Mazda 5 ...(City: 9.6 L/100 km (29 mpg Imp); Hwy: 7.0 L/100 km (40 mpg Imp)
- Large van: Chevrolet Express Cargo/GMC Savana Cargo
Not surprising, with the exception of the Ford ranger, none of these cars are domestic. It looks like I am not going to rent a North American made car this summer, if my decision is based soley on the list above. Some argue that buying North American vehicles may help to prevent the demise of the Big Three. Renting cars made by Ford, GM or Chrysler, would be great if they made more fuel efficient vehicles. Even though, safety is a major consideration, I am also looking for the best bang for my dollar.
My family usually rent North America made cars for all our road trips - at least four each year. We've rented the Chevy Equinox, the Chevy Impala, Chevy Malibu, the Chrysler 300, Chrysler Town & Country Minivan, the Ford Fusion, and Ford Focus among others. The reason for renting domestic cars for our trips is twofold: my husband is looking to purchase a new car, as his 1995 Volvo is getting tired with over 500,000 kilometers on it. By renting a vehicle, we get to test drive if for a while and then do our comparison shopping. The other reason for renting North American cars is because they are usually more spacious than some of the more popular foreign cars. The verdict is still out on which car we'll get, even though we are leaning toward a Ford vehicle.
Currently my family owns three foreign made cars. We are seriously considering the purchase of a domestically made car. We believe that the manufacturers are giving more consideration to the environment and fuel economy. We'll probably rent the Ford Escape for our road trip this summer, that way we can test drive it for over a week. We also like the idea of a hybrid. I'll let you know how the Ford Escape compares with the 2005 Chevy Equinox, which we used in 2005 for our road trip through eastern Canada and Northesatern USA. I'll keep you posted.