My Pontiac Firefly / Chevrolet Metro / Geo Metro / Suzuki Swift welcomes fuel efficiency nerds everywhere

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Latest fuel economy stats
for my '98 Firefly 1.0L 5-speed
  best: 2.3 125.1 104.2
 worst: 6.4  44.1  36.8
prev.3: 3.3  82.3  68.6
   all: 3.8  73.4  61.1
L/100km | mpg IMP | mpg US
Jul 28/07: more, graph, calc.
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Best non-hybrid MPG: Mitsubishi Mirage
Highest MPG for a new car: Mitsubishi Mirage?
Mitsubishi's 1.2L, 3-cylinder Mirage is the first new non-hybrid car that can match an old Metro's mileage. The company says 44 mpg (US) highway, 37 city. (Some drivers are already beating that in various economy driving contests.) How? An efficient engine, very light weight and aerodynamic design.

Cheapest to own? 2015 Nissan Micra Forum
2015 Nissan Micra Forum
The Micra's fuel economy isn't its most notable feature -- the $10,000 price is. That makes it one of the cheapest cars to own. And its 109hp, 1.6L engine and good power-to-weight ratio means it's fun to drive too.

Latest 10 posts:
1. Recipe for getting 99.7 mpg from a Geo Metro
2. - famous aerodynamic Honda Civic gets a web site
3. Snapshot: effect of tire pressure on rolling resistance
4. 65+ vehicle modifications for better MPG
5. Metro mania: forget stocks, put your money in old Geos!
6. 100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips for better gas mileage
7. Experiment: how long should a block heater be plugged in?
8. Everything old is new again: Car and Driver magazine modifies an econobox to improve MPG
9. Project Convertible XFi: alfresco efficiency
10. The floor is yours: MetroMPG opens a fuel efficiency forum
11 ... 64. Show all posts

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Good MPG forums: I spend a lot of time at and have also been known to lurk around

Chevrolet Aveo forum - discussion of the Chevrolet Aveo and its siblings (Pontiac Wave, Pontiac G3, Suzuki Swift+, Daewoo Kalos).

> Lots more Metro links...
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Send me a note:
darin AT metrompg D-O-T com,
or here

MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to
ScanGauge fuel economy computer Save fuel with a ScanGauge II fuel economy computer.
I personally recommend this tool. I've owned both versions (I and II) and can't say enough good things about it. If you're serious about saving fuel, get one.

For more information and to order, visit EcoModder.

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Posted Wednesday, March 8/06 in Mods & Tests

temp gauge Without trying too hard, you can probably think of a couple of reasons why it's better to drive a cold engine gently than letting a car sit idling to warm up.

The obvious one is reduced fuel consumption. Another is lower emissions. And a big one is that driving the car actually gets everything up to operating temperature faster than just letting it sit running. (In fact, idling does nothing to warm the drivetrain, bearings, tires, etc.)

But how much faster? I didn't really know. Time to get some data!

Continued inside...

Posted Saturday, February 18/06 in General

MetroMPG's got mail To keep maintenance to a minimum, I opted not to set up a guestbook or web feedback feature on (and also to avoid "comment spam"). But that doesn't mean I don't get letters.

It's always great to hear from visitors. And it's nice to know I'm not the only mileage nut with a penchant for the Suzukiclones! Drop me a line any time - I always try to write back (enter your e-mail address carefully if you use the web form).

Here are some of the comments that have been e-mailed or submitted through the site's contact page.

Continued inside...

Posted Tuesday, February 14/06 in General

Jetcar 2.5 You're looking at the German made Jetcar 2.5, so named for its ability to achieve an average fuel consumption of 2.5 L/100 km (113 mpg Imp. / 94 mpg US).

The builder apparently experimented with several drivetrains to propel this trim (660 kg / 1455 lbs) glass fibre vehicle, including battery electric, as well as a 1-cylinder diesel, before ultimately settling on a 3-cylinder 799cc common rail diesel.

While looking at the pictures on the Jetcar web site, I was struck by how similar its 3-bolt wheels are to the wheels available on the Smart car. A quick visit to Smart Canada's web site confirmed my observation, and revealed the same engine specs too.

Hmmm... Click for more in this efficiency investigative report!

More miscellany after the jump, including: does the pulse & glide driving technique work in an electric vehicle?

Continued inside...

Posted Thursday, February 9/06 in General

1000 km round trip in January In late January, I made a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and put roughly 1000 kilometers / 600 miles on the Blackfly. The driving was clear and windy.

This was the first long hwy trip I've done since adding or modifying a number of items on the car, and since learning about the pulse & glide driving technique.

For a mid-winter trip (though admittedly a mild one), my mileage was really encouraging.

Full MPG details after the jump - plus: how a good tailwind helped me along to an astonishing 73 mpg (US) on one leg of the journey.

Continued inside...

Posted Thursday, February 2/06 in Mods & Tests

some warm air I'd like to intake Anyone with a passing interest in engine performance is probably familiar with the concept of the cold air intake (CAI), where the goal is to feed the coolest possible air into the engine. Since cooler air is denser (contains more oxygen by volume), a modern engine will compensate by injecting more fuel into the mix to retain a proper air/fuel mixture. The result is more power at a given throttle opening (relative to warmer air).

The idea behind a warm air intake (WAI) is based on the same underlying principles, but its goal is 180 degrees in the other direction: heating the intake air and decreasing its density to reduce power and boost the engine's overall efficiency.

A WAI set-up is easy to make, so about a month ago, I put one together for my car. It immediately suceeded in increasing my intake air temperature significantly, and I ran a controlled-as-possible test to see what it did for MPG...

Continued inside...

Posted Sunday, January 15/06 in Driving efficiently

Pulse & Glide - it's not just for starships anymore "Pulse and glide"

It sounds like some kind of tactical maneuver from the starship Enterprise. But in fact, it's a driving technique for more Earthly transportation. (Never mind that the car most closely associated with the term is kind of spacy-looking.)

Of course the car in question is the Prius, and this summer, a group of five efficiency aficionados drove an unmodified 2nd generation version of Toyota's hybrid to a fuel economy record of 109.3 mpg (US) over 1397 miles on a "loop" of public roads in Pittsburgh, PA.

When I first heard about their mpg marathon, I mistakenly assumed that their technique was possible only because of the hybrid system. I was wrong. Pulse and glide works - in theory - on any car.

Continued inside...

Posted Friday, December 30/05 in Mods & Tests

separating the wheat from the chaff - literally! Two links of particular interest:

Tony's Guide to Fuel saving - a professional engineer's view

I was happy to come across this week. It's a level-headed shelter from the virtual storm of over-hyped additives, modifications and gadgets out there.

The site is run by a British automotive engineer who examines fuel saving claims from a very rational - not to mention educated & qualified - point of view. He debunks well-known modifications and additives apparently out of sheer irritation with the pseudoscience surrounding them. (In fact, calling some of their claims "pseudoscience" does the word a disservice.)

More after the jump, plus Looking for a Miracle - Popular Mechanics tests several fuel-saving items.

Continued inside...

Posted Wednesday, December 21/05 in General

Metro Hybrid Okay, I'll admit it. I have Prius envy.

I've driven both generations of Toyota's gasoline powered hybrid, and in terms of geek-appeal, it's hard to beat. Ghosting around town on electric-only propulsion (or "stealth mode" as it's also called) is one of the coolest driving experiences I've had. The car scores points both for its outstanding efficiency (when driven intelligently) and technological creativity.

The logical evolution for the Prius and other hybrids is a plug-in option. Fitted with an additional higher capacity battery that's charged from the grid, the car can operate in electric mode for up to 60 miles, vs. just a few miles in "stock" format. If the plug-in charge is used up, the car reverts to its gasoline motor and "normal" hybrid operation.

It's such a good idea, I've often wondered if there's a way to hybridize my Firefly. Maybe there is... if Santa's elves can work out the details.

Continued inside...

Posted Sunday, December 11/05 in Mods & Tests

block heater schematic In the hierarchy of exciting efficiency mods, the lowly engine block heater is sure to be found near the bottom.

Maybe it's because of its humble status that I couldn't find much online information -- e.g. reviews, performance comparisons, etc. -- that would have helped last month when I was trying to decide which kind I should get.

Recently a fellow teamswift member contacted me to ask how my purchase worked out. His question reminded me of the dearth of information out there. It prompted me to put together a list of the pros & cons of various block heater types - plus the unique method the Toyota Prius uses to keep warm when it's cold outside.

Continued inside...

Posted Tuesday, December 6/05 in Mods & Tests

Blackfly with aero mods The start of a conversation I had this weekend at a Christmas party:

Neighbour - "So, looks like you got a new Firefly."

Me - "Yup."

Neighbour - "Sort of looked like there was some cardboard taped on it."

Me - "Um... Yup."

I was just relieved he didn't notice last weekend, when I pulled into the driveway with wet newspaper plastered across the front of the car. Somehow that fact made it slightly less unusual to be explaining homebrew aerodynamic mods at a Christmas party. It was made even easier still by the fact that the modifications were a solid success.

Continued inside...

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EcoModder fuel economy forum Note: MetroMPG has opened a fuel economy forum
Read about the project here, or go straight to

darin AT metrompg D-O-T com, or here