Gas Myth Busters

By: Mike George Email
By: Mike George Email


It seems everybody has an idea on how to save gas. Some of those ideas are myths. Here are some ideas researched for the truth.

A.C. Myth

We've always heard that turning off the air conditioner will save you gas. It will if you don't open any of the windows. But in TX that's not reality. Yes the a-c pulls on the engine which helps it consume more gas, but rolling down the windows or sunroof instead increases drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. So in this case do what's comfortable.

Lead Foot

O-k Lead foot, this tip is for you. Don't mash the gas when you start up. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

Cruise Control

Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently on tips lists. Researchers were amazed. And stated they never expected such significant results. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input by preventing nervous "surging." Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them.

Turn It Off

If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room you'll save electricity. If you turn off your car you will save gas. Obviously. But when idling for long amounts of time can you save by turning off the engine. The answer really depends on how often you turn off the car and for how long. Say if your stuck in traffic or waiting in a car pool line and you turn off your car for less than a minute at a time, researchers show you wouldn't save enough gas to make a difference.

Tire Pressure

We hear this one all the time! Check your tire pressure! Experts swear by it; but researchers just couldn't really document it. The thought is tire technology, like the design in other areas of the car, had improved. But don't let that keep you from maintaining your tire pressure. Safety issues should be reason enough to keep the tires inflated to recommended levels or just above.

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