There has long been arguments over the pros and cons of carburetors when weighed against engines with fuel injection. It’s true that both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, a great deal depends on what you actually like in an engine. Both have plenty to offer and can give great service.
An engine with a carburetor costs around five times less than one with fuel injection which makes for a very large savings. However, the maintenance costs of a carburetor engine are generally higher than for one with fuel injection so it can all even out in the long run.
Even fuel injection prices can vary greatly. Direct fuel injection, in particular, tends to be much higher in cost than common port fuel injection.
Emissions are a major factor in modern motoring and is likely to be even more critical in the future. This is where fuel injection has many advantages. Carburetor engines were fine when little attention was ever paid to the amount of CO2 being emitted but these days, the restrictions on vehicle emissions means that more and more manufacturers will be leaning toward fuel injection for their vehicles.
Again, the nod for fuel economy goes to fuel injection. The way a carburetor is set up means that to obtain truly excellent fuel economy, you’d constantly need to be tinkering with the settings to allow for variations in weather and atmosphere and this isn't particularly practical. As gas prices increase, carburetor engines are becoming less and less sought after.
If power and performance are the main criteria in your choice of engine, you’ll be firmly on the side of carburetors. This is because a carburetor engine has no limit on the amount of gas that can be pumped from the tank. This means that cam modifications will let more fuel come through the carburetor and into the cylinders. This results in a denser mixture in the chamber and higher levels of power.
The only way to try and rival this with fuel injection is by turbo-charging or super-charging to attain the same kind of flexibility. For normal daily driving, however, extra power doesn’t really matter. Extra power is always going to lead to greater gas consumption which, in turn, will lead to greater costs.
A carburetor is very complex and needs to be adjusted properly in order to work efficiently. By contrast, a fuel injection setup is extremely simple. A carburetor relies on a float and needs to regulate the amount of fuel passing through to the engine. With a carburetor engine, one cylinder will receive more fuel than another cylinder. In a fuel injection engine, each cylinder receives the same amount of fuel. In this particular area, there’s little that can be done to improve the design of the carburetor.
With fuel injection systems, the fuel runs through a line under pressure to the fuel injectors. The car’s computer instructs each injector on when it should open and at this point, the fuel enters the cylinders. As it passes through the cylinder, fuel becomes atomized so it burns more effectively.