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Lessen the load: how weight affects fuel consumption

(NC) Your vehicle is like your body. The larger and heavier it is, the more energy it needs to get around.

Heavier vehicles have greater inertia and greater rolling resistance, which both contribute to increased fuel consumption. By choosing a lighter vehicle, you can raise fuel efficiency and lower your vehicle's harmful emissions.

For every 100kg of weight reduction, fuel consumption could decrease by about 0.4L/100 km for cars and about 0.5L/km for light trucks. For example, the difference between combined city/highway fuel consumption for the best and worst conventional gasoline, base-model minivan, is about 2L/100km with a corresponding difference in curb weight of about 490 kg (note the difference in consumption is not solely due to weight). At today's fuel cost of about $1.20/L, this translates to a savings of about $4,800 over 200,000km. Imagine what you could do with an extra $4,800 in your pocket?

There's really no reason not to choose a lighter weight vehicle nowadays. Increasingly stringent government legislation, evolving consumer preferences and new technologies have made lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles the standard nowadays.

If you're in the market for a new vehicle this spring, only buy what you need and try to choose a smaller vehicle with a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine. To lighten the load of the vehicle you have, only carry essentials in your trunk.

The bottom line: do your homework before making any major decisions. There is some great information about fuel efficiency and vehicles on the Natural Resources Canada website at The Office of Energy Efficiency for Vehicles has posted some detailed, common sense information for consumers that is definitely worth checking out.

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