What are benefits of fuel injection?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Is fuel injection better than a carburetor? What are the advantages of fuel injection?

TOM: For the first hundred years, all cars ran great with carburetors; that's all there was! But carburetors did not accurately control the amount of fuel being delivered to the engine. Like the way my brother adds wine to sangria, carburetors simply poured in an approximate amount of fuel--and always over-estimated.

RAY: That was fine when we didn't care about how much fuel we used or what kind of air we breathed. But once we realized the importance of these things, engineers began to look for better ways to control fuel consumption. Fuel injection--where a much more precise amount of gasoline is delivered to the cylinders--is the method they perfected. Moreover, the development of inexpensive onboard computers is what made the widespread use of fuel injection feasible.

TOM: The evolution from carburetors to fuel injection is a lot like the changes that have occured in cooking, Bill. When our mother was learning to cook, the cookbook (The Joy of Cave Cooking) said to add "an armful of nuts, a conch-shell full of berries, and mix with your husband's club until you hear crickets." While that occasionally produced a good meal--especially when she ground the antacids right into the batter--today's more accurate measuring cups allow her to get it right each and every time.

RAY: Fuel injection works in much the same way. It ensures that the correct amount of fuel is used for each combustion stroke, and the result is a more efficient, cleaner burning engine. That's why almost every car made today is fuel injected.

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