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Monday, May 16, 2011

Facts VS. Fiction of Busting Your Mileage

As much as possible, we all want to save at the gas pump. But there are some cases when we should know the facts and myths about how we can benefit in our mileage and avoid the misconceptions.

Myth: Driving faster can save me gas as I get to my destination sooner.

Fact: In the 70's, 55mph was considered to be as the national speed limit because it's close to an optimum speed for saving gas. According to the US Department of Energy, if you drive 55 mph instead of 70, your mileage improves by 21%.
The added increment of energy needed to propel a car the extra mph offsets any saving on time spent driving.

Myth: I can get a better deal buying gas in the morning instead of at midday.

Fact: Gas has lesser vapor in cooler temperatures, so that when you fill your tank in cooler weather, you're filling it with more gas, and less vapor. So, there's more gas for your dollar, a factor offset in warmer months.

Myth: Fuel additives boost your gas mileage.

Fact: According to Federal Trade Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, fuel additive claims are misleading. Study had shown the products did nothing to improve gas mileage.

Myth: In achieving optimum gas mileage, vehicle maintenance makes little difference.

Fact: Keeping your car's tires properly inflated, replacing air filters regularly, getting frequent tune-ups and picking the right motor oil can greatly improve your mileage.

Myth: "All hyper-miling" is completely safe.

Fact: "Eco-driving" principles like avoiding jack rabbit stops and starts are good things. Hyper-miling practices can get more extreme which can be hazardous.
Hyper-miling practices are:
  • drafting behind another vehicle to reduce wind drag can increase chances of crash.
  • Shutting off the engine while car is rolling (e.g. on a hill) - which can harm steering and power brakes and lock up the steering wheel.
  • Rolling through stop signs to avoid unneeded acceleration is both unsafe and illegal.
  • Over-inflating tires, which some claim can improve mileage, can make tires more susceptible to road hazards.