Automakers Look to Improve Fuel Economy
WARREN, Mich. - Automakers are in the midst of redesigning vehicles in an effort to maximize fuel economy, according to the Associated Press. Several manufacturers are redesigning grilles and roof racks, angling side mirrors so air flows around them better, and lifting underbody components pipes so they won’t produce drag.
Aerodynamic drag accounts for 23 percent of the energy consumed in the average vehicle, according to General Motors. Only engine friction is a larger contributor, at 27 percent. Tire resistance, vehicle weight, and energy used by the transmission are smaller factors.
Current attempts to reduce fuel consumption, according to AP, include:
· Ford’s new Lincoln Zephyr -- An air dam on the front of the vehicle saves about one-tenth of a mile per gallon of gas because it prevents air from going under the car.
· GM 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe -- This vehicle reduces aerodynamic drag by 8 percent, which improves its fuel economy by 3 percent.