Fuel Efficiency Myths

There are many ideas floating around on how to save on gas. Rather than giving you more things to look at I decided to look at some of the myths related to gas savings.

- The first is to not fall for gimmicks. There are many cheap products out there that promise to drastically improve the fuel-efficiency of vehicles, but don’t buy into them. Rik Paul of Consumer Reports makes an excellent point, “With all the pressure car companies are under, if one of these inexpensive devices did improve fuel economy, they (the auto industry) would be all over it”.

- There is certain day of the week when gas is the cheapest. I know people that like to fill up on a specific day because they swear that this is when gas prices are the lowest. While it is true that gas prices tend to be higher on the weekend, there is no specific day when gas is the lowest. Gas is affected by many different factors and does not depend on the day of the week.

- Air conditioning and putting windows down does not have a big impact on fuel efficiency when highway driving. Consumer Reports did a study that showed that running the A/C would only reduce a vehicles fuel economy by about 1 mile per gallon (which may be a lot if you are in a gas guzzler) and that driving with windows down does make your car less aerodynamic but does not have any measurable effect on fuel efficiency. It is better to drive with whatever makes you comfortable, which in turn makes you a safer driver.

- Newer cars don’t waste gas when starting up. I myself used to believe this one. I would leave my car on instead of turning it off when there was a wait of some sort. Modern fuel-injection technology actually saves gas when the car is turned off. It may not be practical to shut your car off at every traffic light, but if you have a short wait then it can be fuel efficient of you to turn it off.