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5 New Gas Engine Technologies


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Turbochargers
Turbochargers are fans powered by gasses from the car's exhaust system.
Turbochargers are fans powered by gasses from the car's exhaust system.
© iStockphoto.com/Oleg Shelomentsev

It may seem strange to talk about turbochargers as ways to improve fuel economy. After all, they're usually associated with high-performance cars -- which aren't exactly known for their fuel economy.

Turbochargers are fans powered by gasses from the car's exhaust system. They allow more compressed air to go into the cylinder. That allows for a higher compressions ratio (just like direct fuel injection), and therefore, more efficient combustion. Think of a turbocharger as direct injection for the air part of an engine's air/fuel mixture.

While using a turbocharger allows performance cars to generate even more power, putting them on a smaller engine allows them to do the same work as a bigger engine -- and that saves fuel. In 2011, Ford added a turbocharged V-6 engine to its line of engines for its F-150 trucks. Called EcoBoost engines, they prove that you don't need a V-8 in a pickup. With a turbocharger, the EcoBoost engine in the 2011 F-150 makes 365 horsepower, 420 pound-feet of torque and can tow up to 11,300 pounds (5,126 kilograms). By comparison, the base V-8 in the F-150 makes 360 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. The EcoBoost V-6 in the F-150 not only makes more power, it also gets better fuel economy than the V-8. In two-wheel drive, the EPA says it gets 16/22 miles per gallon (6.8/9.4 kilometers per liter) city/highway, while the base V-8 gets 15/21 miles per gallon (6.4/8.9 kilometers per liter) city/highway.


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