Just a decade or so ago, if we wanted a car and had the money to buy it, we did so without much thought. After all, we needs or wants that needed to be met, the economy was in good shape and gas prices were just over $1 per gallon. Things have changed today, however, after we have seen gas prices steadily hover well over the $3 mark, and we have even seen them reach as high as $5 in some areas in the United States.
As a result, those of us who do not operate under the belief that money grows on trees have to look for vehicles that come as close as possible to meeting our needs without ripping our home out from under us due to high gas prices. With rising gas prices and a demand for vehicles with better fuel economy, president Obama passed a bill that stated all cars would need to average at least 35 miles per gallon by 2025.
Sure, that is still 25 years away, but it appears that automotive manufacturers are wisely already getting off to a hot start. The EPA came up with a list of reasons regarding the cause behind the increase in fuel economy.
The first reason was modern transmissions. Just a few years ago, and before that, most vehicles were equipped with just four or five speed transmissions. Although this gave vehicles enough power to get up hills, it certainly did not allow for optimal fuel economy. Today, you can find vehicles equipped with six or seven speed transmissions as well as continuously variable transmissions, which search for the optimal RPM depending on the current terrain.
Another reason was that manufacturers are now able to produce more powerful engines without increasing the vehicle weight. At one time, if you wanted more power, it meant utilizing a bigger and badder engine. Today, a few tweaks to the combustion system and a couple of other upgrades do the trick without adding the bulk.
One of the other reasons pointed out was the chance of engine construction. We are seeing an increase in valve technology, such as VVT and Multivalve engines, which are far more effective than what we have had in the past. To top it off, more and more hybrid models are being offered in each class.