If you're in the market for a new vehicle and you want to reduce your fuel costs, the experts at the office of energy efficiency at Natural Resources Canada offer these tips for helping you choose a fuel-efficient vehicle:
? Identify your needs.Comfort, brand name, image, fuel efficiency, environmental impact, and even emotional factors often play a role, along with practical factors such as the type of vehicle you need, purchase price, and operating costs.
Remember, the smaller the better when it comes to fuel efficiency. Generally, the smaller the engine the less fuel it consumes. For example, a mid-sized car with a two-litre, four-cylinder engine burns about 2,066 litres every 20,000 kilometres. The same car with a three-litre, six-cylinder engine burns about 2,244 litres-178 litres more.
Manual transmissions are generally more fuel-efficient than automatics, but advanced automatics can be fuel-efficient. Look for vehicles with a high number of gears or a continuously variable transmission.
? Ask yourself these questions: How much space do you need?
Could you borrow or rent a bigger vehicle for special occasions? Is fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions important or is price your most important consideration? Do you really need a four-wheel or all-wheel drive? The weight and friction of their additional drivetrain parts can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 per cent compared with two-wheel drive vehicles.
? Identify the type and amount of driving you do.
Do you mostly drive in the city, on the highway or a mix of both? Fuel consumption ratings vary for city and highway driving.
At today's fuel prices of about $1.20/L, a gasoline-powered vehicle can cost from about $900 to $6,700 per year to fill, depending on the make and model, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 1.7 to 12.8 tonnes over 20,000 km.
? Research powertrain technologies. If fuel efficiency is important, would you prefer to drive a vehicle powered by gasoline, gasoline blended with ethanol, diesel fuel, electricity or hybrid technology that uses both gasoline and electricity?
? Question the little extras. Many extra features increase the amount of fuel a vehicle consumes by adding weight, or increasing aerodynamic drag, or drawing extra power from the engine.
Features such as power windows, door locks and seats, heated seats and mirrors, air conditioning and permanent roof racks can all increase fuel consumption.
Consider more fuel-efficient features such as aluminum wheels, cruise control, navigation systems, a sun roof, manual windows, doors locks and seats, a tachometer to let you know when to shift gears, or onboard computer to track fuel consumption as you drive.
You can find more tips for fuel-efficient driving on the NRCan website at www.oee. nrcan.gc.ca.