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Improved engines help motorists

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Technological improvements in car engines are allowing motorists to avoid the stress of rising fuel costs, according to car price experts CAP.

Research shows that smaller petrol engines in particular offer drivers more miles per gallon, generate less pollution and provide stronger performance, potentially saving on car insurance payments.

Since 2003, there has been a 4% drop in the average engine size in a small family car, while power output has gone up 12% and combined cycle fuel consumption has seen a 16% rise. There has been an 18% drop in average CO2 output during the period.

David Saville, who runs CAP's New Vehicle Data department, said: "The automotive industry has made massive strides in improving the efficiency of engines and this is paying dividends for hard-pressed motorists who need more than ever to keep spiralling fuel costs in check."

According to Mr Saville, the concept of engine downsizing is to produce the same or more power and torque from an engine with smaller capacity.

This is achieved by pressure charging through the use of a supercharger or a turbocharger or in some cases both, along with reducing internal friction using better materials and lubricants.

Mr Saville said: "This gives improved fuel consumption and CO2 figures by making the engine work at its more fuel efficient upper load limit more of the time."

© Press Association 2011