Gas Saving Fibs

By: Jeff Wozer June 26, 2013
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Summer’s driving season is upon us and with it comes the usual hubbub of gas saving tips. Most are valid, others Internet-fueled whoppers.

To help you sift through truth and fiction we’ve lashed together a list of Gas Saving Myth Busters.

Clean Air Filters Improve Gas Mileage

According to Consumer Reports, the Marshall Dillon of the consumer world, this once fact has become myth. Today’s computerized engines regulate air/fuel ratio, depending on the amount of air sweeping through the filter. Hence, a dirty air filter no longer influences your mileage, unless, of course, you’re driving an older model car.

This does not mean you should remove checking car’s air filter from your vehicle maintenance list. Clean air filter still carries clout with acceleration capacity.

Premium Gas Equals Better Mileage

Believe this and you probably believe eating alphabet soup will make you a better speller too. Unless your car manual prescribes a specific octane, spending extra money on premium fuel carries almost no mileage benefits.

Premium fuel only aids premium engines, normally only found in sports and luxury vehicles.

Open Windows Cause Wind Drag

Good news for your dog: driving with open windows has almost no effect on gas mileage. This is according to a test conducted by Consumer Reports. The test also revealed that driving with the air conditioner on can cut your mileage by almost three miles per gallon – ouch.

Fuel Additives are Mileage Vitamins

Despite claims that say fuel additives boost engine performance and mileage, studies prove that additives are nothing more than engine placebos. They do nothing but take up space in the fuel tank.

A Warm Engine Improves MPG

Yeah, maybe if you own a vehicle bought during the Carter administration. But otherwise, no. With synthetic oils, fuel injection and today’s temperature-controlled engines, idling has gone the way of Myspace and Paris Hilton’s acting career.

Generic Gas Stations Sell Cheap Gas

Just as Red Bull is the same regardless if you buy it from Safeway or Tammy’s Taco Shack, gas is the same if you buy it from Shell or Gary’s Gas ‘N’ Gulp. Independent stations purchase their fuel from top-shelf oil companies, making them no different than name-brand service centers. Additives for cleaner engines may not be up to par, but the fuel will not alter mileage.

Fill the Tank When the Air is Cool

The Internet constantly fuels the myth ­– yes, I agree, a bad pun – that filling your tank when the air is cool will get you more gas for your buck. Theory states that gas is denser in cooler temperatures than when it’s warm, thus equating into more gas.

But what this theory does not consider is that gas is not stored at air temperature. It’s stored underground in dark tanks, immune to aboveground temperature swings.

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