Vehicles today come in all shapes and sizes. Many changes have been made that improve safety and gas mileage. As production of automobiles moves forward, you will start to see a focus on getting better miles per gallon (MPG). It is a simple state of economics. Consumers want the best bang for the dollar they have to spend. Three areas you will see moving in this direction are: the types of transmissions in a vehicle, type of undercarriage and advanced electronic fuel control system.
Transmissions have changed dramatically since the Clean Air Act of 1990 was introduced. The reason: to improve the gas mileage. The automatic transmission has two jobs: First, convert the torque that is produced by the engine to a force that is used to move the vehicle; second is to get the engine revolutions per minute (RPM) down to engine idle speed. Both of these actions have been moved forward with the help of technology.
Electronic solenoids can be controlled faster than springs and check valves. These solenoids allow for improved operation and efficiency to help lower the engine RPMs by creating less load coming from the transmission. The Clean Air Act and its subsequent updates have set the operation and communications speeds of all the control modules. With this advanced operation came updates that sped up the operational speed of a transmission and made the controls electronic. Next was the introduction of constantly variable transmissions (CVT). These transmissions operated in an almost infinite power and load operation selection, which allowed gas mileage to be lowered even further.
The next step of vehicle improvements was airflow. Airplanes can fly because they control how air goes over and under the wings, thus creating lift. The less drag on any mode of transportation, the smoother the air going under and over it will be. When air is going under a vehicle it creates tumbles that cause turbulence. The turbulence creates drag and makes the vehicle engine work harder moving forward.
Many people can be seen using after market kits to lessen the amount air going under a car. Manufacturers started doing it more and more so noise and drag could be lowered, thus allowing a vehicle to get better gas mileage. So when you drive over a speed bump and peel this off, it will change the gas mileage you get.
Lastly, the Clean Air Act required the speed of monitoring and controlling a fuel system to change and be at a certain speed. The processor of the engine control module had to be able to handle so much information at once and control to compensate for it. This in return has created a system that could control fuel not reacting to the driver but being proactive in its operation. Now we have a spring-loaded sensor for a gas pedal, not a cable that connects the driver to the engine. The engine controller sees the input from the driver when the gas pedal is pressed and then ramps up the engine according to what it thinks the drivers wants to allow for better gas mileage.
In all, the changes that have been made are just a drop in the bucket of what is about to come through the pipeline. I look forward to not having to drive at all in traffic and a better transportation system to get us to and from our work. It will be an exciting few years of change headed our way.