Compact cars are getting more and more fuel efficient.
Although the U.S. won’t reach President Barack Obama’s goal of having one-million plug-in vehicles on the roads by the end of the year, standard gasoline engines are becoming more efficient as a result of electrified vehicles. In order to compete with automakers offering hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, some automakers are opting to enhance fuel economy on their existing gasoline engines, since it’s arguably cheaper than researching and developing a hybrid powertrain. As a result, fuel economy on compact cars are now equal to that of a large motorcycle, which is impressive considering how much more a car weighs compared to a motorcycle.
With stricter corporate average fuel-economy requirements making an appearance worldwide, automakers have been able to meet those mandates by modifying traditional gasoline powertrains through downsizing, adding direct injection and even forced induction with small turbochargers. Combine that with new transmissions that range from eight- to 10-speed units and it’s clear how fuel economy can improve without going electric.
Take the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost for example, equipped with a small 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine that gets an EPA-estimated 37-mpg combined rating. Vehicle owners reportedly get even better fuel economy than what’s stated and those figures are comparable to that from a Triumph Speed Triple motorcycle.
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