If you talk to most drivers, they will tell you they have a secret that makes their tank of gas go the extra mile. But do they really work? We separate fact from fiction when it comes to saving money at the pump.
1) Using fancy gadgets
“We haven’t found a device yet that works the way it’s purported to work,” said Jeffrey Spring of AAA.
2) Filling up at a certain time of day
Some people claim it’s better to buy gas first thing in the morning rather than in the heat of the day, because gasoline expands when heated. But car experts say that the gas is so far underground that the temperature won’t affect your gas mileage.
Judy Dugan, Research Director for Consumer Watchdog, says, “The temperature variation between day and night at an individual gas station is apt to be negligible.”
3) Turning off the A/C
Turning off the air conditioner doesn’t have a big effect on fuel consumption. Modern vehicles have very efficient systems that show no difference in RPMs when the unit is running, which means the engine isn’t working any harder to let you enjoy that cool air.
“If you use your air conditioner, you really won’t see any big difference at all,” said Spring.
4) Cleaning your air filter
Well, you should clean your air filter! But it won’t squeeze any extra miles out of that gallon of gas. Modern engines re-adjust to air filter clogs automatically.
“We were surprised to find out it didn’t much matter,” Douglas Love, part of the test team for Consumer Reports said. “The mileage was about the same.”
BUT YOU CAN SAVE MONEY IF YOU:
1) Lay off on the lead foot
Changing your driving habits could save you a significant amount on your fuel costs. The Orlando Sentineltested two cars and found that diving less aggressively can pump up gas mileage by 35 percent and that just using cruise control can improve gas mileage by as much as 14 percent.
Don’t speed either. A consumer report from the Federal Trade Commission said gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour. And according to Fueleconomy.gov, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas.
2) Have a mechanic check out your engine
Car experts say the less your motor is “dragging” because of inadequate amounts of air in the tires or fluids… the better it will perform.
The U.S. Department of Energy said keeping your engine properly tuned can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent and keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent.
3) Be smart about buying gas
Shop around. If you gas up near a freeway entrance, you’re probably paying a little extra. Gas stations a couple blocks away will likely have less expensive gasoline.
Download an app for your Android or iPhone like the one from GasBuddy.com to easily find the cheapest gas in your neighborhood.
Save even more money by getting the cheaper, lower octane fuel.
Spring said, “The vast majority of cars out on the road today can run very well on 87 octane.”
4) Get that junk out of the trunk
Excess weight makes your engine work harder to get you from A to B. Clean out your car and remove the items that you don’t need. The FTC says an extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by up to two percent.