Gas prices are as capricious as the wind, and people are constantly coming up with new strategies, tips, and tricks for increasing their gas savings. Some of these widespread tips, however, can actually worsen your car's fuel efficiency. Before you change your driving habits in the name of gas savings, separate the fact from the fiction in these three myths. |
Myth: Leave the windows down to decrease your gas mileage. Fact: There are no savings when you roll your windows down.
When it's hot outside, many drivers will roll down the windows instead of run the AC in order to conserve petrol. If you plan on relying on a breeze to cool off your baking car, rethink that move. There are no savings when you leave your windows open. Driving with open windows actually increases your car's drag, which makes your engine work harder to maintain the same speed. This effectively cancels out any benefits to your fuel economy.
That said, leaving both your windows up and your AC off could improve your mileage while driving under speeds of 40 mph.
Myth: Filling up your gas tank when the weather is cool improves fuel efficiency. Fact: The weather has no bearing on fuel efficiency.
Common sense says that if you fill up your car in the early morning or late evening, the cooler temperatures in the air will cool down your oil. Gasoline at lower temperatures is denser, and thus burns more efficiently and saves you a few bucks. Unfortunately for the early birds or night owls on the road, modern pumps are temperature-regulated. No matter how cold or hot it is outside, the petrol will remain at a constant, stable temperature. Even if their temperatures did fluctuate, Consumer Reports writes that the impact of cooler petrol is too small to have a definitive impact on gas prices.
Myth: When running in and out of the car, it's more fuel efficient to leave it idle. Fact: It's better to turn off your car instead of leaving it idle.
While running errands or sitting in traffic, some drivers prefer to leave their cars idle to conserve oil. Shutting off and restarting the engine, they reason, expends more energy than simply leaving it on at a constant purr. Thanks to modern fuel-injection technology, however, car engines that are already warmed up can restart without burning any fuel. If your car is going to idle for more than ten seconds, you should simply turn it off.
Indeed, anyone can achieve awesome gas savings by avoiding disastrous driving myths and embracing best practices. The next time you visit your mechanic, ask them what fuel-efficient tips they have to share.
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