Image Number 7 for United States Patent #8131447.
A variety of methods and arrangements for improving the fuel efficiency of internal combustion engines are described. Generally, selected combustion events are skipped during operation of the internal combustion engine so that other working cycles can operate at a better thermodynamic efficiency. In one aspect of the invention, an engine is controlled to operate in a variable displacement mode. In the variable displacement mode, fuel is not delivered to the working chambers (e.g. cylinders) during selected "skipped" working cycles. During active ("non-skipped") working cycles, a maximum (e.g., unthrottled) amount of air and an optimized amount of fuel is delivered to the relevant working chambers so that the fired working chambers can operate at efficiencies closer to their optimal efficiency. A controller is used to dynamically determine the chamber firings required to provide the engine torque based on the engine's current operational state and conditions. The chamber firings may be sequenced in real time or in near real time in a manner that helps reduce undesirable vibrations of the engine.