Gas Mileage Fact and Fiction

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Car Maintenance, Car Stuff, Defensive Driving Online

 
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As a car owner, you are always looking for ways to save money, as well as ways to keep the value and lengthen the life of your car. One of the best ways to do this is to control your miles per gallon–that is to say, your gas mileage. However, when it comes to fuel efficiency, there are a lot of old wives tales that are commonly circulated. As a result, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. So to help you out, we have done exactly that! Read on for some truths and myths about gas mileage.

Fiction: cheaper fuel can damage your car/isn’t as efficient

According to the US Department of Energy, there is very little difference between the cheaper and the premium grade gasolines. Unless your car is specifically designed to run on premium fuel, cheaper options will do just fine.

Fact: Driving slower means better gas mileage

Your best tool for cheaper driving is to drive sensibly. According to fueleconomy.gov, aggressive driving, such as speeding and accelerating too much, can cost you an extra $0.09 to $0.28 per gallon.

Fiction: driving with windows down is worse for gas mileage that using air conditioning

There is a constant, and still ongoing, debate about whether or not driving with your windows down will affect your fuel efficiency. However, even if it does cause some drag, it is still better for gas mileage than using A/C. Though there is still a lot of debate, the New York Times found a general agreement that driving around town with your windows down was better, but that once you get to freeway speeds there is less of a difference.

Fact: tire maintenance has a significant impact on your fuel efficiency

According to energy.gov, the best device for improving your fuel economy is a tire gauge. Things such as tire pressure and tread will all add up to have a significant long term effect on your overall gas mileage.

Fiction: a new air filter significantly increases fuel efficiency

It is important to replace your air filter regularly for a number of reasons, but gas mileage should not be the main one. The primary benefit is improved acceleration, as most cars now measure air intake and adjust fuel flow accordingly.

Fact: Excess weight will hurt your gas mileage

While winding the windows down won’t create a lot of extra drag, things such as roof racks, excess weight in the trunk, and bike racks. Even an empty bike rack can reduce fuel economy by as much as five miles per gallon.

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