Can a gasoline engine be economical? We are looking for an alternative to electric and hybrid cars


Many cars, old bus models, vehicles of various city services, and even industrial vehicles purchased from a manufacturer or at a salvage equipment auction are often equipped with a gasoline engine. Experts consider it the most uneconomical, so they recommend switching to hybrid models and electric motors. We decided to evaluate the likely benefits of such a replacement and also tried to find out whether it was possible to make gasoline-powered vehicles more fuel-efficient.

Why is a gasoline engine considered uneconomical?

With the advent of cars with hybrid and electric engines becoming widely available, models running on gasoline began to be openly called uneconomical. Before that, they only had fuel analogs, which only became a cheaper option for vehicle owners in some situations. The main reason for the high financial costs is the low efficiency, which is typical for all gasoline engines. Its value is 25%-30%, which contrasts with the figure of 95% and higher for electric models. This means that for every dollar spent on gasoline, only 25-30 cents go to keep the car running, and the remaining 70-75 cents are wasted.

Let’s compare gasoline engines with electric ones at certain stages of a car trip. The former will be more economical only when driving evenly, and the latter will be during acceleration, deceleration, sudden stopping, and frequent alternating use of the listed modes. In this regard, the electric motor is ideal for the city, where you often have to stop, change speed, or stand still. It will also be economical on empty roads, where many turn, and obstacles constantly force you to change speed. At the same time, a gasoline engine can become more economical only during uniform driving on a broad highway free from other cars.

Ways to reduce fuel consumption

The efficiency of gasoline engines is directly related to the amount of fuel they consume to ensure the regular operation of the entire vehicle. In this regard, the only truly effective way to reduce costs is to facilitate the influence of various negative factors. If you can do this, fuel consumption will be lower, and the engine will become more economical. One of the critical factors is the driver’s ability to drive the vehicle competently. As mentioned earlier, gasoline engines use fuel most economically when driving evenly, so avoiding frequent braking and acceleration is essential. If this is impossible to do (for example, due to difficult traffic on the streets of big cities), then you should work more smoothly with the brakes and pick up speed without sudden jerks. You can also use cruise control, which will help a novice and experienced driver cope better with this task.

The next factor on which a gasoline engine’s efficiency depends is the vehicle’s weight and everything inside it. Consequently, the fewer kilograms a car carries, the lower its fuel consumption. In this regard, trying to transport only the most critical items is essential, leaving everything you can do without at home or in the garage. In addition, you should always remember that you can forget about saving gasoline if you transport bicycles, various pieces of furniture, boxes of things, etc., on the roof of your car. All of the above will lead to increased air resistance, which means the engine will have to burn more fuel for the vehicle to maintain your desired speed. The same effect will be observed in cases where the driver or passengers open the window or raise the sunroof.

Incorrect and untimely gear shifting is a common mistake that occurs periodically, even among experienced drivers. Because of it, the car’s power unit is overloaded, thereby increasing fuel consumption. To prevent this from happening, you must try to keep the engine speed within a specific range. For cars running on gasoline, this figure is 1500-2500 rpm. That is, as soon as the specified limit is exceeded, it is necessary to increase the gear immediately. The last and one of the most critical factors affecting a gasoline engine’s efficiency is the vehicle’s condition. It should be close to ideal since, otherwise, fuel consumption will be increased compared to the initial value. Naturally, the most excellent attention should be paid to the engine. It should be inspected and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In addition, it is essential to use suitable fluids and lubricants that will not adversely affect structural elements.

Modernization of gasoline engines

The debate over the future of gasoline engines does not subside for a minute. One part of the experts point to a complete refusal to use them, and the other – to further exploitation. Proponents of the second theory justify their assumptions by the active modernization of gasoline engines, which has already begun in our days. Changes occur not only in the design of individual elements of the power unit but also in the principle of their operation. One of the most promising areas is the introduction of the latest developments that will deactivate some cylinders in cases where their power is not needed for regular engine operation. This could significantly reduce energy costs, making it possible to save fuel. Another option for future modernization could be the introduction of new principles of fuel combustion. Theoretically, this will also provide an inevitable increase in efficiency and reduce costs. Some specialists involved in modernization are actively promoting the idea of comprehensive use of high-octane gasoline. This will make it possible to carry out various transformations of the gasoline engine and gradually improve its operating efficiency. It is still unknown which of the listed ideas will be implemented, but the chances of this are high. In the coming years, we can expect other innovative solutions to help make the gasoline engine more economical.

The gasoline engine can safely be called obsolete. Nevertheless, it is too early to abandon it altogether. Significant cost reductions can be achieved under certain circumstances and the right approach to its operation. In the future, gasoline engines will improve, soon becoming an excellent alternative to economical electric and hybrid models.