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Check Out These 5 Gas Myths

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I think an article like this is way overdue and, having no way to come up with it on my own, I defer to CNN Money’s cadre of experts to come up with these, probably common-sense, give gas myths (some of which I thought were wrong but let’s go anyway):

1. Your driving style is more significant in determining your mileage than your car’s EPA estimate. Pulling out my “duh” card, it makes sense your driving style affects your mileage. I know people who hit the gas in parking lots, it almost doesn’t even matter what their EPA estimates are (and the fact that they’re inaccurate). However, I find it hard to believe you can take an EPA estimated 30 MPG vehicle and drive it so inefficiently that it would get under 10 MPG.

2. Gas saving products don’t work. Hmmm… I buy those fuel injector cleaner additives and use them maybe once every oil change (~8-10,000 miles) because I’ve been told it’s good to send that stuff through to get the injectors a little cleaner. Usually I get them for free after rebate from one of the car care stores (they’re only like $2/bottle anyway) but I’ve never tried anything that claims to boost performance. I know you can get additives to reduce emissions and octane boosters that will definitely improve mileage if you’re driving a car that requires premium and you put in regular (lower-octane gas) with the booster, but I’ve never tried a straight up booster. Sounds kind of hokey anyway.

3. Using higher octane gas doesn’t improve performance. I’ve written about this before and many people have weighed in, check out my article “High Octane Gas Myth”.

4. Not all gas rebate cards are the same. They warn to check out fees and interest rates, while I can’t talk about interest rates because I never carry a balance, I would never get a card that had a fee (unless I had no choice). Personally, I wouldn’t sign up for a gas station company branded card (like a Shell specific card) because you have to go to that station for the savings. Go instead for a gas station company-agnostic card that gives you rewards on your purchases at any gas station.

5. Air conditioning wastes gasoline. First off, AC doesn’t “cost” so much gas that it’s worth sweltering, especially in 100 degree temperatures, just to save a couple drips. Secondly, it actually is more efficient than opening your windows at speeds over 55 mph according to some studies (I’ve looked it up but I don’t have the site available) because of air drag. So, if you really want to save then use windows under 55 mph and use AC above it.

Source: CNN Money

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7 Responses to “Check Out These 5 Gas Myths”

  1. Tool Man says:

    Side note, the EPA MPG numbers that are on all new car window stickers are going to change in upcoming years. The CAFE standards for calculating these numbers are 20 years old. Tests on the car are run on a dynamometer type device with a certain speed vs. time profile. People were arguing that nowadays no one drives 55mph on the highway, and the mpg number should reflect the common driving speed for a more accurate representation. What this means basically is that you will see cars that will have lower highway mpg numbers than they used to. Hybrid car dealers are worried that this will negatively affect sales because the hybrids won’t have the 40-50mpg highway number anymore, though relatively speaking they will still be tops on the list.

  2. mapgirl says:

    I find a lot of this stuff is ridiculous. Just keep track of your own MPG faithfully and try to figure out what you’re doing on your daily habits. For instance, I can get 30mpg consistently on long haul drives depending on the time of day. I also know that if I get into the office before 8am, I generally sit less in stop and go traffic and my gas mileage is better that week.

    Who cares what is posted on a little sticker when you buy the vehicle? Just track what you are doing every week and adjust from there. It never ceases to amaze me how lazy people are by taking one number and never questioning it. Here’s a case where you can track your own data and make adjustments. Just tank up the car, note the mileage you got since your last fueling and then use the calculator on your cellphone to figure out the mpg on the last tank.

    Geez. I know when I hit the accelerator and drive like a demon my mpg plummets to 24, and there are times where I’ll do it for the pure fun of driving.

    *shakes head* Why do people let the government tell them what the truth is about their car? They can get real feedback everytime they gas up. (/me is being a total grouch today. Sorry Jim!)

  3. Spades says:

    I actually have got around 10mpg in my 30mpg car. I have a celica gts and i drove it to the red line everytime..that burned gas fast ;) Only did it once..no desire to do that again :P

  4. Matt says:

    Save gas by turning off the AC? Um…yeah, right. Save a few drops of gas, kill a few pedestrians when I pass out from heat exhaustion (or maybe just people I can’t see through the sweat streaming into my eyes). Not a good trade-off. :)

  5. Debt Hater says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me. I always knew some of those gas saving tips sounded absurd. How badly could you drive to get 10 mpg out of a two-door coupe? And I feel much better about running the AC, expecially in the humidity of middle Tennessee, rolling down the windows won’t cut it!

  6. dlivingood@comcast.net says:

    This article fails to mention that at speeds below 55mph, opening the windows vs. A/C can save 10%-20% of fuel, which is a huge savings.
    Living in Florida, I don’t mind enjoying the beautiful warm weather, and typically don’t use the A/C in my car at all.


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