May 6th, 2014
As the price of fuel continues to rise, drivers want to get the most mileage out of their vehicles. Not to mention, owners of fuel-efficient cars are sometimes seen as safer and more responsible drivers by auto insurance companies, meaning they could save on their car insurance rate. While there are several things a car owner can do to make their ride more fuel efficient and cut down on the amount they spend on gas, some common beliefs are false and won't actually get a vehicle any farther on the road. Here are some of the top fuel-efficiency myths you may have heard:
Some drivers with manual transmissions may believe they get better gas mileage than automatic vehicles. Experienced drivers may have been able to once shift gears and control engine revs to improve a car's efficiency better than an automatic transmission, but this is no longer the case. Over the years, automatic transmissions have been significantly improved and become highly efficient.
Fill 'er up!
Someone might have once told you to fill your car's fuel tank all the way to the top in order to prevent gasoline from evaporating. While you don't want to run on empty, there's nothing to suggest that a full tank will have less evaporation than a half-full tank. That thinking may have once been true, but modern fuel systems are better designed to prevent fuel from evaporating. In most newer cars, vapor recovery systems will help you get the best mileage for your money and alert systems may even tell you if the gas cap is loose or missing, further preventing any risk of evaporation.
The main function of cruise control is to continue moving at the same rate without much effort. While you can get better mileage this way when you are on a flat road, any incline will rapidly burn through gas as the car revs up and works harder to stay at the same speed.
Running the A/C
Perhaps the most common misconception about improving fuel efficiency is the idea of turning off the air conditioning while you drive. Many people might think that running the A/C uses more energy and that opening the windows instead is more efficient. This is somewhat true in certain circumstances. When you are driving slowly around town, using the A/C will decrease mileage. In that case, you can improve it by opening your windows instead. However, once you reach highway speeds, opening windows will create significantly more drag on your vehicle, causing it to use more fuel, and you're better off turning on the A/C.