WAYS TO IMPROVE GAS MILEAGE - TRUTH OR MYTH?
ith the fluctuating price of gasoline these days, we are
constantly looking for ways to improve our car’s mileage. Over the years (after all, the issue of gas
prices has been with us for quite some time!), many swear by ‘tips’ that improve
gas mileage per gallon (MPG). Many have some truth to them but most are pure
myth. Here are some that we have found to be most widely-believed and
what current research and testing has revealed:
Changing a Dirty Air Filter will Boost MPG – Part-Truth
This may have been true when most cars used carburetors. But
today's computer-controlled, electronic fuel-injected systems easily adjust and
correct for a little dirt in the filter to help maintain efficiency. A recent
government study revealed that drivers gained NO improvement in mpg by
replacing dirty filters with new ones.
Driving With the Air Conditioner Off Saves Fuel – Part-Truth
Turning on the air conditioning does burn more gas,
particularly at low speeds or in city driving conditions. But it is still
considered a myth because as you approach highway speeds, the drag created by
rolling down the windows rather than rolling them up and cranking the A/C
cancels out the extra fuel used to power the compressor, which is actually less
at higher speeds when the engine is already pumping out more revolutions per
Gas Additives Boost Fuel Economy – Pure Myth
Using these additives during a two-thousand-mile road test
actually resulted in a one-mile per gallon DECREASE! The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agree with these results and agree most
additives or any other purported fuel-saving product are a waste of time and money.
Keeping The Motor Running While Idling Saves Gas – Pure
This is pure myth. Again, fuel-injected vehicles start very
efficiently, so it’s better to turn off the engine if you'll be idling for more
than 30 seconds. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea to shut off your engine
when you stuck in traffic. That can be dangerous and contribute to your starter
wearing out prematurely. One exception to this is with the new hybrids that
safely shut the engine down automatically whenever the car is stopped and
switches over to battery power.
Premium Gas Improves MPG – Pure Myth
You should stay away from higher-octane fuels if you can.
The extra cost will easily eat up any savings from minimal mileage gains you
might see. Further, the reality is that all but some of the highest-end luxury
and performance models actually run well on regular fuel. Check with your
vehicle's manufacturer or a trusted mechanic to determine what makes the most
sense for your ride.
Over\-inflating Your Tires Improves Fuel Economy – Pure Myth
By all means, inflate your tires to the recommended pounds
per square inch (PSI). But ignore anyone who tells you to go beyond that. Theoretically, it makes sense that if low PSI
means more rolling resistance, then more air in the tire would reduce
resistance. In practice, this can be dangerous. Over-inflated tires can degrade handling and
braking and cause uneven tire wear, which can lead to an increased risk of
blowouts. Stay within recommended PSI for your vehicles and try to avoid going
above or below the ranges.
Fuel Efficiency Decreases as Your Car Ages – Pure Myth
This is a problem of perception because the EPA has
determined that after an initial break-in period, MPG can actually increase
over the first several years of ownership if the car is properly maintained.
When these increases finally subside, some owners may perceive a decrease, but
in reality, you may simply be achieving the EPA estimates for your vehicle when
it was new. A well-maintained car can often hit the same MPG figures for