The car world is changing. Car buyers all over the country are looking for vehicles that deliver better fuel economy and a smaller environmental impact. Now, more and more automakers are looking to turbochargers in order to meet the public's fuel efficiency demands.

Turbochargers are often thought of as a way to boost an engine's performance, but the technology can also be used to efficiency, as well as horsepower.

A car's engine needs fuel and air in order to run. The more air a car can get, the better the combustion it's able to achieve, and the more power it can produce. A turbocharger is essentially composed of two parts: one part is essentially a windmill attached to a car's exhaust system; the force of the exhaust gases leaving the engine cause it to spin. The second part of the turbocharger acts like a fan, and uses the spinning motion to push clean air into the engine's intake. This means more air for more power and better efficiency.

In cars, turbocharged engines have long been popular in Europe and Asia where gas prices are much higher, but American buyers have tended to pass on the technology, preferring larger engines instead.

Today, economic and environmental concerns have American buyers taking another look at turbo cars. According to turbocharger manufacturer, Honeywell, turbo availability will go from six percent of the market to as much as 23 percent in 2016.

This is good news for American car buyers looking to save at the pump, a turbo-equipped car can achieve around about 20 percent better economy over normal gasoline vehicles, and as much as 40 percent for diesel vehicles.

author photo

J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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