The truth behind myths about how to increase your gas mileage
With gas prices jumping to a little over 50 cents since Jan. 1 and now are averaging $3.83 per gallon around the country, and $3.65 per gallon in Kirksville. For many, that price tag is starting to affect their wallets and now, they're looking for creative ways to get better gas mileage. They've been wondering if the myths they've heard all of their lives about how to increase gas mileage actually have some validity. To get some answers, we talked to a local mechanic and a local car dealer general manager.
How do you increase your gas mileage?
"Probably the biggest thing I would suggest is to make sure your car is in good working condition," said John Sutter, the owner of Tires & Tailpipes. "Make sure the check engine light isn't on. There's several sensors that feed into a main computer in your car and if one of those sensors feeds faulty information to the engine computer, then your car doesn't run as efficiently as it possibly could. So that's the big thing."
Does putting additives in your gasoline help increase fuel economy?
"The manufacturers don't recommend additives," said Bill Lovegreen, the general manager of Lovegreen Ford-Chrysler. "Before I would put in an additive in my new vehicle, I'd verify whether or not it will affect the warranty or not."
Cruise control..does that help save gas?
"If you're driving on a flat level surface at 70 miles per hour and you put your car on cruise control, I think it'll help you. If you're going up and down hills, I don't think it will," said Lovegreen. "So I think it has to do with keeping a steady engine RPM is what will get you better fuel economy."
Do you get better gas mileage if you drive 50 m.p.h instead of 70 m.p.h on the highway?
"Yes, you will. You don't burn as much fuel. You're not going as fast. Your engine isn't turning as many RPMs so it's more efficient," said John Sutter.
On a hot summer day, is it better to ride with your windows down or to use air-conditioning?
"If you're in town, you may get a little better gas mileage with your windows down but when you're on the highway, it doesn't really help," said Sutter. "When they manufactured cars, they spent a lot of time in wind tunnels to determine the aero dynamics of a car and they did that with the windows up. So, if you have the windows down, you have increased drag which burns more fuel so it's really a tradeoff."
Your tires..do they affect your gas mileage?
"Make sure the air pressure in your tires is right and that will help you," said Lovegreen. "That's the easiest thing I know and it doesn't cost you. "
Now the old myth that you should put your car in neutral while waiting at a stop light to better your gas mileage..Does that help?
"I don't think that's a good trade off with the safety issue," said Lovegreen.
Another famous myth..putting moth balls in your gas tank. Is it true that this will increase your fuel economy?
"I would never put moth balls in my gas tank to get better fuel economy because I think it would create some issues with my motor that I would not want to pay for," said Lovegreen.