The fuel system of your vehicle is primarily unseen. Still, a lot of engineering is involved in how fuel is delivered and used in your car as part of the combustion cycle that creates the energy to move your vehicle. The fuel system includes the fuel (gas) tank, fuel pump, fuel lines, fuel filter, fuel injectors, and modern-day electronics to ensure these systems function properly. Along with delivering energy to power your vehicle, here are some other vital things your fuel system is doing:
1) Achieving fuel economy targets
2) Reduce harmful emissions as a result of the combustion cycle
3) Providing power to other essential accessories, such as air conditioning
How are fuel economy standards set?
Government and environmental agencies such as the EPA set emissions standards that auto manufacturers must meet. To achieve these standards, vehicles powered by fuel need to continuously improve fuel economy. To do this requires a combination of the following:
1) Hybrid (gas and electric) technology
2) Reducing vehicle weight through lighter materials
3) Improve existing systems such as transmissions and fuel delivery electronics
4) Utilize more energy-efficient fluids such as oils and fuels
What type of fuel to use?
The fuel recommended for your vehicle has been optimized for all these requirements. The fuel your vehicle uses is on the inside of the fuel filler cap or in the owner’s manual.
In some cases, the vehicle will specify the octane or the maximum amount of ethanol in the fuel that can be used. Here, the vehicle says to use premium fuel, which is 91 octane.
Modern vehicles are equipped with knock sensors that can detect the incorrect octane being used in the vehicle. These sensors can help save the engine and fuel system from long-term damage. For example, if a vehicle requires the use of 91 octane and 87 octane is being used. Over time, the engine will develop a knocking sound which will indicate an octane lower than the recommended is being used. In this scenario, switching to the correct octane will resolve the issue.
Using the correct octane fuel will help to maintain factory fuel efficiency. A lower octane fuel will reduce engine performance, and as a result, this will impact fuel economy. Using a higher-octane fuel than recommended may improve engine performance, but using the manufacturer-recommended octane is always the way to get maximum efficiency from your vehicle.
For most of us, fueling our vehicles is something done weekly. It’s at this time you can apply the following to aid your fuel system:
1) Use the recommended octane for your vehicle
2) Protect your fuel pump by not allowing your vehicle to run down to empty
3) Use a “TOP TIER” fuel
4) Use a fuel injection cleaner
Improving Fuel Economy
A number of auto manufacturers and fuel retailers have come together to create “TOP TIER” fuel. The idea behind this new standard of fuel is to help manufacturers with more stringent fuel economy standards with better-performing gasoline and diesel fuels. To do this, special additives are used which do the following:
1) Minimize deposit of carbon deposits
2) Prohibits the use of organometallic additives, which are known to damage emissions systems
For diesel engines, TOP TIER fuels do the following:
1) Reduce internal and external fuel injector deposits
2) Reduce wear on fuel pumps and injectors with better lubrication
3) Minimize oxidation degradation
4) Reduce water and particulate contamination
Outside of using the correct octane, keeping the fuel system clean using a TOP TIER fuel is beneficial. Further, using a fuel injector cleaner with specific additives and detergents to clean and lubricate your fuel system is ideal. With so many options on the market, utilizing a complete fuel system cleaner at least once a year would aid your fuel system and fuel economy (make sure to follow the instructions on the bottle).