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Old 05-15-2009, 10:05 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Popular Mechanics (No data just assumptions)

Neutral Shift for Better Fuel Economy - Popular Mechanics

Q: I have a question about fuel economy. If you are driving downhill, do you save gas by putting your transmission in Neutral and coasting, instead of having your vehicle in Drive? I think that you do but my wife seems to disagree. Can you give me the correct answer, so I can tell her that I’m “Mr. Right,” as usual?

A: That depends. The engine isn’t braking the car going downhill if the transmission is in Neutral, so economy would seem to be high. But if you think the engine is still using fuel while coasting downhill in gear, you’re laboring under a misconception. Most fuel-injected cars turn the fuel delivery completely off when you lift your foot from the accelerator. They still burn fuel when idling in Neutral, so do the math. The amount of fuel burned at idle over, say, a couple of miles of coasting downhill is small, but it’s still more than zero. So if you’re driving a modern fuel-injected car, you’re wrong.

Older, carbureted cars would suck gas through the engine while coasting in gear, even if you turned off the ignition switch. In this case you’d be right.
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