Active Fuel Management Flex Fuel Vehicles

I just got back from a trip doing some whitewater rafting in Colorado, and one of the rental cars we had was using what I thought was some pretty cool technology to that can definitely help you save money on gas.

One of my friends had a Chevy Impala as his rental. Normally, this is nothing to write home about. However, since my friend is an engineer who works for an ethanol company he made sure he got one of their flex fuel vehicles that can run on E85. While I may not agree that ethanol makes sense as a fuel right now, there’s no denying that it costs less at the pump, I’ve seen it cost up to $1.00/gallon less than regular unleaded gasoline.

But that really wasn’t the cool thing about this car as far as I was concerned. I was much more excited about the Active Fuel Management technology on the vehicle.

Instead of running on all six cylinders 100% of the time like a standard engine does, this vehicle automatically deactivates half of the cylinders in the engine when they’re not needed and then reactivates them when they’re needed like when you’re stopped idling at a stoplight or once you’re up to speed on the highway. These enhancements can actually get the full sized sedan nearly 30mpg on the highway, and if you’re filling up with E85, it can make a dramatic improvement in your gas consumption.

One other feature that I thought was really cool was a real time gas mileage indicator so you can see how your driving is affecting your gas mileage. I think just being able to see how much their gas mileage is affected when you are driving aggressively would make people think twice about doing it next time.

One other feature on the car that I didn’t know about was that the vehicle as has a tire pressure monitor that automatically alerts you if your tire pressure is low, and having properly inflated tires can improve mileage by up to 3% according to fueleconomy.gov.

While the Chevy Impala Flex Fuel Vehicle with Active Fuel Management is certainly no Aptera Typ-1 (300mpg car) or even a Toyota Prius in terms of fuel mileage, it’s certainly a step in the right direction to help you get better gas mileage.

If a hybrid really doesn’t pique your interest or isn’t practical for you as your next vehicle, I’d recommend you take a look at vehicles that are flex fuel and use Active Fuel Management or similar technology. If you need a larger vehicle, then I’d recommend that you look into vehicles that run on diesel since diesel tends to get significantly better gas mileage than their gasoline counterparts.

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Posted: June 13th, 2008
at 9:29pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Fuel Technology

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