Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Biggest Fuel Efficiency Myths

the following is a guest post by Sara Collins

The Biggest Fuel Efficiency Myths

In tough economic times, keeping a tight hold on the family purse strings is more important than ever, and saving money on car fuel is no exception to this rule. There are many excellent waves to conserve fuel, but not all of the advice you’ve picked up will work for you. Some myths are simply outdated, while others make sense but have never been true. Here are six of the biggest fuel efficiency myths out there, with alternate fuel-saving tips included.

1) Shifting into neutral at stops
This myth comes from a bygone era when car engines all utilized carburetors; today computer-based fuel-injection obviate this conventional wisdom. Modern cars can determine if the engine is revving when the accelerator isn’t pressed and shut off the fuel injectors even if the car remains in gear. Instead of shifting into neutral at traffic lights or in slow-moving traffic—which will merely prematurely wear down shift parts—just let your car engine’s computer do the fuel-saving work for you.

2) Cruise control
Everyone knows that cruise control keeps a steady speed, and some take from that fact that using the system will save fuel. In a theoretical world of perfectly flat roads that conjecture may be accurate, but in reality it doesn’t work, especially on long trips through unknown terrain. When the elevation of the road changes, even slightly, a car on cruise control will sharply accelerate, wasting a lot of gas in the process. Instead, when traveling long distances, just make shrewd use of the gas pedal yourself to save more fuel than cruise control.

3) Small cars
There’s a common misconception that larger cars are all gas-guzzlers and all small cars deliver more bang for your buck. While that may have once been mostly true, government regulation and the advance of technology have rendered that idea a myth. Nowadays, the smaller car is not necessarily more energy efficient given the proliferation of hybrid technology and more. Instead of counting on size as the best indicator of fuel efficiency, do your homework and compare fuel economy of different vehicles you’re looking at. There are countless sources of consumer information where you can find all the facts you need to get the most fuel efficient car. Start with

4) Manual transmission
This is another myth that is rooted in a previous time. In decades past, 5-speed manual transmissions typically guaranteed better fuel mileage through the efficient shifting of the driver, as opposed to more wasteful 3-speed automatics. Nowadays technological advancements have rendered automatic transmissions more efficient at saving fuel than most manual transmissions, on average. While a highly skilled driver using a stick shift on a high-performance car may save money on gas, this is not the typical result with modern vehicles. Instead, use an automatic manual transmissions combination (or AMT, which utilizes the best of both types), or stick with an automatic transmission to keep your wallet fatter.

5) Premium gas
If your car is designed for regular gas, as most are, premium gas is an enormous waste of money rather than a strategy for saving. Costing around 25 cents more per gallon (possibly hundreds of dollars over the course of a year), the high-octane premium fuel will not boost your gas mileage unless your car is specifically meant to use it. If you’re not sure, check your owner’s manual before spending that extra cash.

6) Fuel additives
When you visit the auto store, mechanic, or gas station you’ll likely notice the plethora of fuel additives promising miracles when it comes to your fuel mileage. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. While a small minority of these cure-alls may pay for themselves by small increments, you can bet that most will cost more at the cashier’s stand than they’ll ever save you, and government investigations have proved your suspicions correct. Instead, check out well-reviewed fuel-injector cleaning products and use them on a basis of need rather than throwing away money on snake oil.

Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site dedicated to helping consumers find the best deals online.


take care and God Bless
Alex W Fraser
Courtenay, BC
866 517 2113

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