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To help meet stricter average mpg ratings imposed by the U.S. government, big auto companies are installing a variety of fuel saving features into new cars, one such feature being stop-start technology.
Ford Motor Company has announced that it is pursuing a number of avenues aimed at easing the financial burden on small businesses and fleet companies, many of which are feeling the pinch of current gas prices.
A big aspect of Ford’s plan will be the introduction of a North American version of the ubiquitous Ford Transit commercial van, designed to supplement the long-running E-Series (née Econoline).
When it begins production at the Kansas City, Miss. assembly plant next year, the Americanized Transit will be offered with Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and also a diesel engine (though the automaker has yet to provide specifics on what this oil burning motor will be).
As a result, Ford says the Transit will achieve around 25 percent better fuel economy than the current E-Series, which is no doubt welcome news to many fleet operators.
In addition, during the Automotive Press Association conference in Detroit this week, Ford’s director of North American fleet, leasing and re-marketing programs, Kevin Koswick, said that the automaker is committed to providing a range of options to help fleets lower their operating costs. Besides introducing more fuel thrifty vehicles like the Transit, that also includes alternative fuel sources such as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric, biodiesel and Compressed Natural Gas (which the current E-Series vans are designed to run on besides gasoline).
Also, in order to enable fleet operators to better keep track of their costs and monitor emissions output, Ford is also introducing a new tool dubbed the “Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Cost Calculator.”
This shows, via information such as the type of vehicle used, the type of driving situations, as well as local traffic conditions and energy sources available in a particular location, a specific map of fleet fuel consumption and emissions output.
The idea is that fleets can make an informed decision as to which type of vehicles they use and for what purpose when it comes to reducing costs and impact on the environment.
The proprietary program, which must be used in conjunction with the support of a Ford representative, enables customized scenarios to be created for fleet customers, using special formulas and variables to determine the actual level of environmental impact and fuel costs of specific vehicles.
New EPA labels have had QR codes for users to scan with their smart-phones since 2011, but an update to the mobile site of fueleconomy.gov allows users to take the next step in fuel savings.
Using www.fueleconomy.gov/m on your smartphone now gives you more options than ever before. Users can not only browse the EPA numbers of new and older cars, but can also personalize the information of each car to reflect that driver’s commute.
That means that you can plug in the cost of gas in your neighborhood, the distance of your commute, and your annual driving habits to reflect what the annual cost of fuel would be for your individual situation. Additionally, you can modify the percentage of city and highway driving you do to understand how many miles per gallon a car could bring you.
Another new feature that helps people who aren’t interested in buying a new car is the “Your MPG” feature. Now users can log their own MPG right at the pumps. The old process had users doing it when they got home to use the full desktop site.
The information you use in the “Your MPG” section of the site can be used to help fueleconomy.gov users find out real world MPG information on cars from actual drivers instead of EPA estimates.
Lastly the updated mobile site includes “Gas Mileage Tips” in order for you to save cash with better driving habits.
You’ll do anything to save money when filling up your vehicle, and you’ve even made sure that your tires are always properly inflated. But have you ever wondered what brand of tire will actually save you the most money when it comes to filling up? Consumer Reports did, and that’s why they decided to take two of the top tire contenders and put them through their paces to see which one would save you some cash at the pumps.
Choosing two brands of tires in the low rolling resistance category, the magazine pitted Michelin Energy Saver A/S and Cooper GFE against each other. Both are good all-purpose tires, but Michelin was declared the winner. Their tires had the lowest rolling resistance of any all-season tire that Consumer Reports tested in the past few years, and it scored a “Very Good” rating in dry and wet braking. In fact, the Energy Savers impressed the judges so much (they probably got extra points in the swimsuit category) that they made the number two spot on Consumer Reports’ chart of all comparable tires, regardless of their rolling resistance rating.
This isn’t to say that the Cooper GFE tires didn’t do well. Their rolling resistance was not as low as the Michelin’s, but they still performed well when it came to the hydroplaning resistance and emergency handling test, and they earned a rating of “Good” for both snow traction and ice braking.
If you’re in the market for a set of tires, Consumer Reports reminds you not to buy a tire based solely on its fuel-saving capabilities. “Short term savings are relatively small. But most consumers will likely see long-term fuel savings over the life of a tire,’ said Gene Petersen, a senior engineer for Consumer Reports who oversees its tire test program. “No matter what tire your car is rolling on, it’s critical to maintain proper inflation.”
[Source: Autoblog Green]