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Fuel Injection Vs. Carburetors

author By Anna Finger
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Making Fuel

While there are several differences between fuel injection and a carburetor when it comes to the performance of your engine, the main one that people are most likely to sit up and take notice of is a no-brainer: fuel economy. After all, gas prices are once again hitting the four dollar mark, and a vehicle with fuel injection boasts a computer controlled fuel and firing system that injects fuel directly into the cylinder at just the right time, giving the fuel a more complete and efficient burn. Carburetors, while a mainstay of the automotive field for ages, have really reached the peak of their design and, going forward, can only really remain stagnant.

Fuel injection has become the primary fuel delivery system used in automotive engines, having replaced carburetors during the 1980s and 1990s. A variety of injection systems have existed since the earliest usage of the internal combustion engine. The primary difference between carburetors and fuel injection is that fuel injection atomizes the fuel by forcibly pumping it through a small nozzle under high pressure, while a carburetor relies on suction created by intake air accelerated through a tube to draw the fuel into the airstream.

Modern fuel injection systems are designed specifically for the type of fuel being used. Some systems are designed for multiple grades of fuel (using sensors to adapt the tuning for the fuel currently used). Most fuel injection systems are for gasoline or diesel applications.

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Use of a fuel injector system has several benefits, both as they relate to the driver and the environment; the driver experiences a smoother and more dependable engine response during quick throttle transitions, easier and more dependable engine starting, better operation at extremely high or low ambient temperatures, smoother engine idle and running, increased maintenance intervals, and increased fuel efficiency .Fuel injection generally increases engine fuel efficiency by improving the cylinder-to-cylinder fuel distribution of multi-point fuel injection; this means less fuel is needed for the same power output.

As for the environmental benefits, exhaust emissions are cleaner because the more precise and accurate fuel metering reduces the concentration of toxic combustion byproducts leaving the engine, and because exhaust cleanup devices such as the catalytic converter can be optimized to operate more efficiently since the exhaust is of consistent and predictable composition.

Overall, while either a carburetor or a fuel injection system will work sufficiently to power the vehicle, the fuel injection system will generally do it more efficiently; however, since fuel injection has essentially replaced the need for Carburetors in most vehicle types, the point of a debate between the two in a mainstream sense has been rendered moot in recent years.