6 Surprising Fuel Economy Myths
When it comes to saving money and getting better fuel economy, some of us are willing to do just about anything. But, heeding common advice can sometimes have little effect on reality, or worse, it can cause damage to your car. While there are things you can do to get better gas mileage, these are the practices and pieces of advice you want to avoid.
Vehicles Lose Their Fuel Efficiency Over Time
While older cars certainly don’t have the fuel-conserving technology of today’s models, there’s no evidence to show that cars, over time, drastically lose their fuel efficiency. As long as you’re treating your vehicle well and performing routine maintenance, your car will not drop in fuel efficiency during the first decade or so of its use. Even after that, you shouldn’t expect major losses in mileage.
Premium Fuel Improves Your Mileage
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about premium fuel. Despite common belief, premium doesn’t have anything to do with how well it makes your car run. Rather, it’s reserved for higher-power engines that need an extra boost. Otherwise, premium fuel will have very little to no effect on your gas mileage, and if it does, the price you pay at the pump won’t be worth it. Your best bet is to only spring for premium if your vehicle’s user manual calls for it.
Always Keep the Tank Full
We’re all guilty of letting the gas run down a little too close for comfort. But on the other hand, there’s no real need to keep a lot of fuel in your tank, either. A common myth is that keeping the gas topped up prevents any fuel from evaporating into the air. Others point out that letting your fuel run down can cause dirt and debris to settle in the bottom of the tank. However, vehicles nowadays are smart enough to prevent unnecessary evaporation, and all modern fuel pumps use a filter to keep the bad stuff out of the system. That said, letting your car frequently run too low – past the warning light – could cause the fuel pump to eventually fail.
Gadgets and Additives Save Gas Mileage
Don’t believe everything you see on TV or on the internet. There are many companies out there looking to take advantage of people who understandably want to save money at the pump, but the unfortunate news is that these products probably won’t help you save on gas. In fact, the EPA has tested many of these products and doesn’t approve of them. There is a silver lining: if you use fuel injector fluid, you have a better chance of your fuel injector failing, though this isn’t a common problem.
Fill Up Early in the Morning or At Night
The idea here is that fueling up in the morning or at night, when the weather is nice and chilly, the gasoline will be denser, meaning you get more bang for your buck. While this is theoretically true, the reality is that the difference in fuel efficiency between warm and cold fuel is so tiny that it barely makes it difference. Also, gas stations keep their fuel stored underground, meaning that the fuel doesn’t drastically change temperature, anyway.
So, what can you do to save on gas mileage? Drive at normal speeds, don’t accelerate or brake too quickly, and keep your tires properly inflated. There’s no silver bullet to saving tons of money when you fill up, but if you practice smart driving, you’ll be driving more efficiently in the long run.