Car Basics: Fuel Economy and Emissions

Here at The Car Brokers we want to give you as much information as possible to help you with your next car purchase.  This post gives some basic information about vehicle fuel economy and emissions. 

Fuel Economy refers to how far a vehicle can travel on a specific amount of fuel. Fuel economy is usually described as the kilometers a vehicle can travel per litre of fuel.  To make comparison easier, websites like provide a star rating. Essentially the more stars a vehicle model has, the more fuel efficient it is.    

It is a super-simple concept but the better the fuel economy of a vehicle the less money it will cost you to fuel your vehicle.  In practice the cars with the best fuel economy are small in size and have smaller engines, though electric cars are changing that model.  Another important factor in vehicle fuel economy is the age of the vehicle.  Governments and consumers are demanding improved fuel economy so in general each new model of a vehicle will have better fuel economy than the last.  Manufacturers are spending billions of dollars to improve fuel economy each year.

Emissions means the air pollution emitted by a vehicle.  As fuel is burnt or as fuel is combusted to power your vehicle, it produces pollutants.  The main pollutants for petrol powered vehicles are:  

·                     Carbon monoxide (CO)

·                     Hydrocarbons (HC)

·                     Nitrous oxides (NOx)

Diesel powered cars have same pollutants as a petrol-powered car but at different levels, plus they emit “particulate matter”.

Most scientists believe that CO2 is the main greenhouse gas contributing to climate change and we are becoming increasingly aware of the very negative impacts of air pollution on human health. 

As a general rule, vehicles with better fuel economy will usually have lower emissions.

As with fuel economy, Governments and consumers are demanding lower pollution, therefore lower emissions from vehicles, so in general each new model of a vehicle will have lower emissions than the last. 

Electric vehicles, while more expensive than the petrol or diesel counterparts are much cheaper to power and have much lower emissions.   These two key characteristics are why there is a significant move to electric powered vehicles underway, even if the economics (because of the high purchase price) don’t necessarily work at this point in their development. 


The Car Brokers can help you determine the best vehicle for your specific needs and then find and negotiate the best deal for it.  Email us at - we’ll do the hard work and save you time and money.