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A New Car is a Clean Car

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Energy efficient technologies are available now! Many of the vehicles currently on display in dealer showrooms boast new performance-enhancing, fuel-saving technologies that can save you money. The percentages below reflect average efficiency increase per technology.

Engine Technologies

  • Variable Valve Timing & Lift improve engine efficiency by optimizing the flow of fuel & air into the engine for various engine speeds. 5%
  • Cylinder Deactivation saves fuel by deactivating cylinders when they are not needed. 7.5%
  • Turbochargers & Superchargers increase engine power, allowing manufacturers to downsize engines without sacrificing performance or to increase performance without lowering fuel economy. 7.5%
  • Integrated Starter/Generator (ISG) Systems automatically turn the engine on/off when the vehicle is stopped to reduce fuel consumed during idling. 8%
  • Direct Fuel Injection (w/ turbocharging or supercharging) delivers higher performance with lower fuel consumption. 11-13%

Transmission Technologies

  • Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs) have an infinite number of "gears", providing seamless acceleration & better fuel economy. 6%
  • Automated Manual Transmissions (AMTs) combine the efficiency of manual transmissions with the convenience of automatics (gears shift automatically). 7%


Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors. Some of the advanced technologies typically used by hybrids include:

  • Regenerative Braking: the electric motor applies resistance to the drivetrain causing the wheels to slow down. In return, the energy from the wheels turns the motor, which functions as a generator, converting energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity, which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor.
  • Electric Motor Drive/Assist: the electric motor provides additional power to assist the engine in accelerating, passing, or hill climbing. This allows a smaller, more efficient engine to be used. In some vehicles, the motor alone provides power for low-speed driving conditions where internal combustion engines are least efficient.
  • Automatic Start/Shutoff: automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and restarts it when the accelerator is pressed. This prevents wasted energy from idling.

Electric Vehicles

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Electric vehicles (EVs) are propelled by an electric motor powered by rechargeable battery packs.

  • EVs are energy efficient. Electric motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels—internal combustion engines (ICEs) only convert 20% of the energy stored in gasoline.
  • EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the power plant producing the electricity may emit them. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar-, or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.
  • Electricity is a domestic energy source, so EVs reduce energy dependence.
  • Electric motors provide quiet, smooth operation and stronger acceleration and require less maintenance than ICEs.

However, EVs face significant battery-related challenges:

  • Driving range. Most EVs can only go 150 miles (or less) before recharging—gasoline vehicles can go over 300 miles before refueling.
  • Recharge time. Fully recharging the battery pack can take 4 to 8 hours.
  • Battery cost. The large battery packs are expensive and usually must be replaced one or more times.
  • Bulk & weight. Battery packs are heavy and take up considerable vehicle space.

To learn more, visit and  To find a charging station near you, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.

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Alternative Fuels

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Below are some alternatives to gasoline.


Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel made by fermenting and distilling starch crops, such as corn.

  • E10 (also called “gasohol”) is a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. All manufacturers approve the use of blends of 10% ethanol or less in their gasoline vehicles.
  • E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, can be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which are specially designed to run on gasoline, E85, or any mixture of the two. FFVs operating on E85 experience a 20-30% drop in miles per gallon due to ethanol's lower energy content.


Diesel engines are more powerful and 30-35% more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.

  • New engine designs have made them quieter and smoother.
  • New "clean" ultra-low sulfur diesel reduces emissions of particulates and smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Natural Gas

Natural gas, a fossil fuel comprised mostly of methane, is one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels. It can be used in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel cars and trucks.

  • Dedicated natural gas vehicles are designed to run on natural gas only.
  • Dual-fuel or bi-fuel vehicles can also run on gasoline or diesel.
  • Natural gas is stored in high-pressure fuel tanks, so dual-fuel vehicles require two separate fueling systems, which take up passenger/cargo space.


Propane or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a clean-burning fossil fuel that can be used to power internal combustion engines.

  • LPG-fueled vehicles produce fewer toxic and smog-forming air pollutants.
  • LPG is usually less expensive than gasoline, and most LPG used in U.S. comes from domestic sources.


Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant greases. It is safe, biodegradable, and produces less air pollutants than petroleum-based diesel.

  • Biodiesel can be used in its pure form (B100) or blended with petroleum diesel. Common blends include B2 (2% biodiesel), B5, and B20.
  • B2 and B5 can be used safely in most diesel engines.
  • B100 is generally not suitable for use in low temperatures.
  • Biodiesel can be used in most diesel engines, especially newer ones.
  • Biodiesel is safer to handle compared to petroleum diesel.
  • You should never fuel your vehicle with clean or used grease or vegetable oil that has not been converted to biodiesel. It will damage your engine.

Fuel Cell Vehicles

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Hydrogen (H2) can be used in fuel cells to power electric motors.

  • It is an environmentally friendly fuel that has the potential to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
  • Hydrogen produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gases when used in fuel cells.
  • Hydrogen contains much less energy than gasoline or diesel on a per-volume basis, so it is difficult to store enough hydrogen on board a vehicle to travel more than 200 miles.
  • Fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are propelled by electric motors. Fuel cells on board the vehicle create electricity through a chemical process using hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air.

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