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A Glossary of Automotive Acronyms

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If you’re new to the world of automotive, it may take some time to pick up the lingo. We have a list of some basic terms you should know, but there are still dozens of acronyms automotive journalists and enthusiasts use on a daily basis. Here’s a glossary of some of the most-used acronyms in automotive.

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A Glossary of Automotive Acronyms


  • AAA — American Automobile Association; known for its roadside assistance services
  • ABS — Anti-lock Braking System; this helps prevent your brakes from locking up when you slam on them
  • AWD — All-Wheel Drive; a vehicle that sends power to all of its wheels
  • CVT — Continuously Variable Transmission; a type of transmission that uses a stepless gear system
  • DOHC — Dual OverHead Camshaft; an engine with two camshafts in the cylinder head to operate intake and exhaust valves
  • DRL — Daytime Running Lamps; a set of headlights that are meant for daytime driving
  • EPA — Environmental Protection Agency; responsible for setting regulations on vehicle emissions
  • EV — Electric Vehicle; a vehicle that strictly uses electric power without any gasoline



  • F1 — Formula One; a professional single-seater auto racing league
  • FCA — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; an automotive company that owns several automakers such as Fiat, Jeep, and Chrysler
  • FCEV — Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle; a vehicle that gets its energy from a fuel cell
  • FWD — Front-Wheel Drive; a vehicle that sends power to its front wheels
  • GM — General Motors; an American automotive company that owns Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC
  • HID — High Intensity Discharge; an enhanced type of light used in many current headlight systems
  • LED — Light Emitting Diodes; a type of lighting system that uses electric currents
  • LEV — Low-Emission Vehicle; a vehicle that produces low levels of exhaust
  • NAIAS — North American International Auto Show; one of the largest annual auto shows in North America



  • MPG — Miles Per Gallon; how far you can travel in a vehicle on one gallon of gasoline
  • MPGe — Miles Per Gallon Equivalent; how far you can travel using the amount of power equal to one gallon of gas
  • MPH — Miles Per Hour; a measurement for your speed
  • OEM — Original Equipment Manufacturer; the automaker or brand (Ford, Chevrolet, etc.)
  • PAS — Power Assisted Steering; a feature that makes turning the wheel easier
  • PHEV — Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle; a vehicle that gets its energy from both gasoline and electric power
  • PSI — Pounds per Square Inch; a measurement for your tire pressure



  • RWD — Rear-Wheel Drive; a vehicle that sends its power to its back wheels
  • SUV — Sport Utility Vehicle; a larger vehicle seating between five and eight passengers
  • VW — Volkswagen; a German automotive brand
  • WEC — World Endurance Championship; a worldwide auto racing event


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Sources: AA Motoring