Widely Held But False Beliefs on Fuel Economy

Myth: Letting a vehicle warm up is good for gas mileage

That was true in the old days when vehicles had carburetors but not today.  Today’s cars have fuel injectors that are made to warm up as soon as the vehicle is started. It is true an engine should reach an ideal operating temperature for best fuel economy, but car makers recommend letting the engine warm up whilst you drive.

Myth: A vehicle’s fuel economy decreases with age

If a vehicle is about ten or so years old, is it starting to become less efficient?  According to the EPA, there is no truth to this.  Older vehicles are not less fuel efficient.  One argument you could make, however, is that buying a new, more efficient car will get you higher gas mileage but there’s nothing wrong with continuing to drive an older car!  

Myth: Smaller cars get better fuel economy

This also used to be true many years ago, but not much now. Fuel saving technologies including turbocharging, direct injection, low-rolling resistant tires and multiple ratio transmissions are making average sedans very fuel efficient.

Myth: Manual transmissions are more efficient than automatic ones

That’s not true anymore! Some of the advanced automatic transmissions today offer the same gas mileage as their manual counterparts.  Automatic transmission technology has evolved a lot throughout the years. With a number of gear ratios and lock-up torque convertors, automatics are very efficient devices nowadays.

Myth: It takes more fuel to start a vehicle than letting it idle

Well, it depends how long you leave your vehicle idling. Idling can use about a quart of fuel per hour and according to this Chevrolet car dealer in Reading, PA, will cost 1-2 cents per minute. New engines start efficiently, especially when warmed.  There is almost no truth to this myth.

Myth: Premium gas will get you better economy than regular

There’s no benefit when using premium fuel over regular.  Premium gas usually has higher octane numbers and is made for use in higher-compression engines.  There’s nothing added that makes the gasoline’s efficiency better.  If your vehicle is designed to run on regular gas, then we would like you to simply use regular gas.  It will be cheaper gas too so there’s your fuel economy.

Myth: There are additives that can increase fuel economy

Well, there are tons of products that say they do.  These are additives to the fuel and some for your engine oil.  Some testing labs have concluded in all cases that we know of that there is little truth to the claims.  

Myth: You can rely on EPA fuel economy window stickers

The purpose of EPA fuel economy estimates is to provide all prospective vehicle buyers with a uniform, unbiased way of comparing the MPG of various cars. In truth, “Your mileage will likely vary.” There are too many variables to account for, which include how people drive and even the kind of gas put in the car!

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