What you think you know (but probably don't) about saving gas is not only a waste of time and energy—it may be costing you money. And if you're like me, your pension and social security payments feel like the incredible shrinking checks. We're all paying more to buy less. And one of the hardest bites to swallow is paying for gas to keep you on the road. Pain at the pump has reached chronic proportions.
So we're all looking for ways on saving gas. And most of us think we have some pretty good ideas how to do that. We're probably wrong.
Here are seven gas saving myths that you can put in the dumpster.
Myth 1. You Just Have to Suffer the Heat
This one's obvious. If you turn off your air conditioner and roll down the window, your engine won't have to work as hard and you'’ll have better fuel efficiency. Obvious or not, it's untrue. Even if we are old enough to remember cars without air conditioning, we can stop suffering nobly in the name of fuel economy.
Open windows create drag as air flows past the car, cutting down on streamlining. This makes the engine work harder and cuts into fuel efficiency as much as using your air conditioner—or even more at high speeds. So go ahead—turn up the cool and be comfortable.
Myth 2. You Have to Get Up to a Frigid Dawn
You might have bought into the idea that filling your tank in the early morning during cold winter weather means saving gas in the tank. Since fluids are denser at lower temperatures, it makes sense you'd get more gas when it's colder, right? Nope. You car is designed to keep your gas tank at a constant temperature, so there's no change in gas volume. So go back to bed. At our age, we've surely earned the right to sleep in…and stay out of the cold.
Myth 3. Keep Idling Away
I'm sure we were all taught the concept: it takes more gas to start and stop your engine than to keep it running for a short period of time. So idling when making a short stop helps saving gas, right? Wrong again. This might have been true once, but modern cars and trucks have gotten smarter. They're designed to use much less gas when stopping and starting, so today's cars definitely use more fuel while idling than when starting. So shut it down, save some gas, and even help the planet.
Myth 4. Saving Gas by Paying More
Huh? A lot of people put premium grade fuel in tanks designed for regular unleaded, thinking they'll get better mileage and performance from the more expensive concoction. But every car is designed to run best on a specific kind of gas. If the octane's too high for the car, the poor little engine has to really churn to burn that rich fuel. Result? Lower gas mileage—and a serious dent in your pocketbook with no resulting benefit.
Myth 5. Dirt-Free Filters Are Your Friend
Keeping your air filter unclogged is probably not a bad idea for keeping your engine's performance at peak levels. But it's not going to do anything for your fuel efficiency. The two are basically unrelated. Stop worrying about constantly cleaning your air filters.
Myth 6. Add More Stuff to the Tank
If a $5 bottle of fuel additive could noticeably improve your gas mileage, don't you think every oil company would be boasting that it's part of their gasoline mix? Gas burns as fast as it burns, and no chemical on the market is going to make it burn slower. Use the five bucks on a little more fuel—or a double dry cappuccino with whipped cream.
Myth 7. Aerodynamics Are Magic
It's fun watching those videos showing the airstream flowing efficiently past our cars. So it's tempting to enhance the aerodynamics of the car even more by adding spoilers. A no-brainer, right? Afraid not. Everything you add to your car, like a spoiler, weighs something. And weight is the biggest thing pulling down your car's mileage. To lighten your load ditch the add-ons and the junk the trunk you're probably unnecessarily hauling around--and raise your mpg.
There are some real tricks that will truly show you how to increase your gas mileage and start saving gas you put in your tank. Unfortunately, buying into these fuel myths is just draining your wallet while not saving your tank from draining at the same pace.
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