The improvement mechanism of fuel consumption at partial and full loads of a boosted direction-injection gasoline engine with the elevated geometrical compression ratio and Miller cycle by either early or late intake valve closing (EIVC or LIVC) are analyzed based on the first law of thermodynamics and one dimensional engine simulation. An increase in geometric compression ratio increases the theoretical thermal efficiency for all the operating loads, but deteriorates the fuel economy at full loads, owing primarily to the full-load knock limit. Use of Miller cycle improves the fuel economy for both the partial and full load operations by reducing the pumping loss and optimizing the combustion phasing, respectively. A comparison between EIVC and LIVC on the influencing factors on the thermal efficiency at the partial load shows that EIVC leads to higher mechanical efficiency and less heat transfer loss than LIVC, and hence its efficiency improvement is superior over LIVC. In comparison with EIVC, the LIVC strategy performs better in reducing fuel consumption at the full load thanks to its more efficient burning and optimized combustion phasing in cylinder.