"Economical" vs "Ecological"

1. Your car is very _____. It hardly seems to use any petrol at all.

a. attractive
b. economical
c. commercial
d. ecological
e. eccentric

I am confused between 'b. economical' and 'd. ecological'.

To begin with, I'd like to ask you that exactly what the sentence 'It hardly seems to use any petrol at all.' means. I think that It means 'The car uses no petrol,' or is my thinking wrong? Could you tell me that correctly?

Secondly, if my thinking is correct, will 'd. ecological' be correct? If it's not correct, is it wrong for me to think that 'd. ecological' is almost the same as 'environmentally friendly'? Please tell me why?
 
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  • P22T33

    Senior Member
    Français - English
    It hardly seems to use any petrol at all = It consumes little gas.


    "Economical" is the proper answer because it mentions "money savings".

    "Ecological" concerns environmental protection and limitation of pollution. In the sentence, nothing hints at that concept.
     
    Hello! P22T33.

    If a car consumes little gas, the car emits little gas, and therefore is it possible to say that it is environmentally friendly?
    Why is 'ecological' wrong? Please tell me more explantion. I'm really confused.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    There is a case for both 'economical' (saving money) and 'ecological' (environmentally friendly) being applicable semantically. If a car uses very little petrol (presumably compared with other cars or vehicles) then it both saves money and produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions, thus with less impact on the environment.

    However, I think that, strictly speaking, the adjective 'ecological' cannot be applied to concrete nouns such as cars - only to abstract nouns such as '[ecological] questions/issues/problems/solutions'. If you wanted to apply the concept to a car, you would perhaps say 'ecologically-advanced' or 'environmentally friendly'. The prefix 'eco' can also be applied : an eco-car, for example.
     
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    P22T33

    Senior Member
    Français - English
    There is a case for both 'economical' (saving money) and 'ecological' (environmentally) friendly being applicable semantically. If a car uses very little petrol (presumably compared with other cars or vehicles) then it both saves money and produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions, thus with less impact on the environment.

    However, I think that, strictly speaking, the adjective 'ecological' cannot be applied to concrete nouns such as cars - only to abstract nouns such as '[ecological] questions/issues/problems/solutions'. If you wanted to apply the concept to a car, you would perhaps say 'ecologically-advanced' or 'environmentally friendly'. The prefix 'eco' can also be applied : an eco-car, for example.
    I agree.
    If you ponder a little bit at the semantic etymology, you'll find out that the word is self-explanatory:

    economical = nominal savings in fuel consumption, refueling time, effort spent in finding a gas station within range, stress from possible running out of fuel, etc.

    ecological = logical savings in gas emissions, heat generation, noise pollution, etc.

    It's claimed that the prefix (eco) is derived from (ecce) = here it is, meaning that it's obvious to those who are experienced enough to see it and also from (echo) meaning that echoes are weird phenomena of reflected sound that were only weird for the uninitiated and that experts were only smiling when it happened.

    In this case, the "economical" advantage is for the uninitiated, and the "ecological" one for the initiated few.
     
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