The fact that the country is currently experiencing a period of economic stagnation is something which hardly needs repeating. For those of us struggling with day-to-day finances, the situation is all too clear.
Ultimately, this has led to cost-cutting ventures becoming the norm. With little disposable income to play with, the pastime of most Brits is now financial conservation. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways in which prices can be reduced – with motoring naturally playing an important part.
As a large number of people will own their own vehicle, be it a Honda Civic EX GT or a Mini Cooper, reducing costs on travel is highly important. Ultimately it is the fuel efficiency of the car which plays the biggest role in running costs and a basic understanding of how engines work will enable you to get the most out of your motor.
Hybrid cars are not the same as electric cars. Whereas electric cars run entirely from charged batteries, hybrids combine the use of advanced batteries with a traditional petrol engine to ensure that performance is not affected in the search for a greener alternative to the everyday road car. Honda has often been heralded as the first commercial producer of hybrid vehicles with the Honda Insight which was launched in 1999.
The relationship between electricity and petrol as fuels is reciprocal. As the petrol engine runs, charge is built up in the batteries. Whenever possible, the batteries aid the petrol engine in propelling the vehicle. This results in the engine having to draw less power from the burning of petrol.
Traditional engines are also referred to as ‘internal combustion engines’. They gain energy from burning fuels such as petrol. You may be aware of vehicles converted to run on used vegetable oil - these work on the same principle of the oil being burned to produce energy which can be used to drive the vehicle.
The harder an engine works, the more energy it requires. In a petrol car, this means burning more fuel. In a hybrid, however, this extra power can be drawn from the batteries. Ultimately, this allows less fuel to be burned and therefore fewer of the resultant gases are emitted.
In essence, the petrol engine in a hybrid vehicle is very much the same to that in a regular vehicle. When the batteries in a hybrid are not sending extra power, the engine is burning fuel for power just as a regular vehicle would.
Of course, the type of engine is not the only thing to affect your fuel consumption levels. Larger engines may burn more fuel than their smaller counterparts and the way in which you drive will affect fuel use too. Harsh acceleration and braking result in the car changing speed rapidly – something which uses more fuel than maintaining a constant speed. Driving with a full tank of fuel also adds excess weight to the car, meaning it takes a greater force to build momentum and therefore uses more fuel.
For those looking to improve their fuel efficiency, good driving skills should therefore be combined with an eco friendly car for the best results. This will ensure that both you and the car are working at your optimum levels, leading to environmental benefits and financial savings.