In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas levels, higher standards for vehicle emissions have been introduced in Canada. As a result, automakers are taking steps to improve transmission efficiency through innovative technology.
One such technology involves increasing the number of forward gears in automatic transmissions. Older vehicles had three forward gears, or three speeds, while today most passenger vehicle transmissions are at least five-speed, with some higher-end vehicles equipped with six to eight speeds, or forward gears. This allows the engine to operate near peak efficiency over a wider range of vehicle speeds.
Another technology is the continuously variable transmission (CVT), a type of automatic transmission that does not have fixed gear ratios. In conventional transmissions, each gear performs best between certain vehicle speeds and then it's time to shift gears. But CVTs have an "infinite" number of gear ratios, meaning that an engine with a CVT is always performing closer to its peak, resulting in lower fuel consumption.
CVTs are especially beneficial in urban "stop-and-go" driving conditions. Natural Resources Canada has more information online at www. nrcan.gc.ca about technological advances that can you help conserve fuel.