There are plenty of myths and urban legends when it comes to improving gas mileage. Find out which of these myths are true and which are plane ludicrous.
Myth 1: The hotter it is, the more gas you burn.
Verdict: False. Warm weather actually improves your gas mileage. Think about it. During the winter months, driving is an uphill battle…literally. Your car has to work harder to drive in snow and icy rain, causing your car to use more gasoline for power. In addition, there’s also a scientific explanation for why the summer is more eco-friendly. Air expands when heated, resulting in less oxygen in your fuel tank. And less oxygen equals less fuel being used to power your car. See…the heat is actually working to your advantage.
Myth 2: Running the A/C when driving in the city burns more gas.
Verdict: False. We can admit it. We were victims of this silly little lie also. Driving in the city with your windows down doesn't save gas nor does driving with the windows up. Your air unit actually works harder in winter months. (Have you ever idly warmed your car during December? You’re reducing your gas mileage by 19%.) So, enjoy your A/C.
Myth 3: Driving slow will save on gas mileage.
Verdict: True. Driving slower can improve gas mileage. According to fueleconomy.com, driving like “a bat out of hell” can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% in the city. In fact, every 5mph over 60 can cost you $0.25 more for a gallon. Edmunds.com reports that driving slower can save you up to 37% in gas mileage. Even using cruise control saves you up to 14% in gas mileage.
Myth 4: Keeping your tires appropriately inflated will save gas mileage.
Verdict: False. Of course it’s important to keep your tires appropriately inflated. (Never under or over inflate.) But it has little impact on gas mileage. However, keeping your tires appropriately inflated, aligned and balanced will save you tire replacement costs and more.
Myth 5: Replacing your air filter when it gets dirty saves gas mileage.
Verdict: False. As with appropriately inflating your tires, replacing your filter when needed is important. But it probably won’t improve your gas mileage. However, it will improve performance and acceleration. Using the recommended oil and making sure your spark plugs are adequate will do a better job at improving gas mileage.
Myth 6: Driving with extra weight in the car decreases gas mileage.
Verdict: True. The more weight in your car, the harder your car works. Of course, you can’t throw your kids to the curb, but any unnecessary junk and baggage can add up. Bankrate.com reports that, “For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy.” In other words, keep your car’s weight in check.
Myth 7: Pumping gas during the coolest times of day saves gas.
Verdict: True. Pumping gas during the coolest times of day can save gas. This is when gas is at its densest, which means the gas’s concentration is thicker. Since you pay for gas by volume instead of density, you’re getting more bang for your buck. Also, you don’t want to overfill your tank. Remember that your tank needs air for combustion in addition to gas.
Myth 8: Filling up your tank before it gets below half a tank will saves gas.
Verdict: False. It is thought that if your tank is half full, gas will have less room to evaporate and escape than it would if it the tank was empty. Although true in concept, a properly sealed gas cap will do better at preventing evaporation than filling up at half a tank. An improperly sealed gas cap can evaporate a gallon of gas within two weeks, which equates to for more than a few cents saved.
Myth 9: Gas additives will improve gas mileage significantly.
Verdict: False. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that gas-saving products don’t actually improve gas mileage and are a waste of money.
For more tips on how to save gas, visit fueleconomy.gov