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Vehicle manufacturers are adding energy-efficient technologies such as turbochargers to their products to meet Canada’s increasingly stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles.

Using a smaller, turbocharged engine can lower fuel consumption by 2 to 6%. This saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment.

Turbochargers boost the power of smaller engines

Turbochargers force air into an engine’s cylinders – unlike a standard engine, which draws air in at atmospheric pressure. This means that a smaller, turbocharged engine can produce the same power as a larger standard engine.

Turbochargers use the otherwise wasted energy from the exhaust to drive a turbine that is attached to a compressor.

The compressor forces air into the cylinders of the engine. This provides two benefits. First, more air and fuel means a larger combustion reaction and more power. Second, the pistons have less work to do pulling the air-fuel mixture into the combustion chamber.

How much a turbocharger can save

Over 10 years, a turbocharger can save you $240 to $1,680 in fuel costs and lower your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 550 to 3,860 kg. At the high end, this is equivalent to

  • three quarters of an Olympic-sized swimming pool of CO2
  • removing a mid-size car from Canadian roads for one year
  • nearly 20% of our annual per capita emissions in Canada, which is 22.1 tonnes
This table shows what a turbocharger-equipped vehicle can save you over time.
Fuel consumption 10-year savings*
(L/100 km)
With a 2% reduction
(L/100 km)
With a 6% reduction
(L/100 km)
Fuel cost savings CO2 reduction
14.0 13.72 13.16 $560 to $1,680 1,290 to 3,860 kg
12.0 11.76 11.28 $480 to $1,440 1,100 to 3,310 kg
10.0 9.8 9.4 $400 to $1,200 920 to 2,760 kg
8.0 7.84 7.52 $320 to $960 740 to 2,210 kg
6.0 5.88 5.64 $240 to $720 550 to 1,660 kg

*Based on an annual driving distance of 20,000 km, a fuel price of $1.00/L and a CO2 emissions factor of 2.3 kg/L of gasoline.

Be a knowledgeable buyer

Research before you buy. Estimate how much fuel your vehicle will consume over its lifetime.

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