Separating Fuel Economy Fact from Fiction
- October 1, 2021
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When it comes to any vehicle you own, whether new or used, fuel economy is an important metric to be tracking. Especially with gas prices very high at the moment, vehicle owners are looking to maximize their fuel economy in any way possible — but this often results in them taking steps that actually have little or no impact on their fuel economy, avoiding the approaches that might actually help in the process.
At Adonis Auto Group, not only are we here to offer a wide selection of used vehicles in Dallas and many other areas of Texas, but also to assist our clients with important vehicle qualities like fuel economy, gas mileage and more. There are a number of misconceptions out there about how you can maximize fuel economy — and then a few approaches that are legitimate. Today’s blog will go over both of these areas to separate fact from fiction when it comes to fuel economy.
Misconceptions About Fuel Economy Impact
Over the years, there are a few areas of misinformation that have sprung up regarding your fuel economy. Many of these involve various gadgets or solutions that purport to improve fuel economy, but in reality have no effect on it — and may even impact your vehicle negatively in other ways.
Here are some examples:
- Mechanical gadgets: It’s important for us to be specific here so there’s no confusion. It’s true that certain plug-in devices exist to help improve your vehicle’s dashboard displays, including for fuel economy — these are standard in certain newer vehicles, as well. If you utilize these properly, they can absolutely help you drive more intelligently and improve your fuel economy in small ways. However, other entities have begun to market devices that are actually intended to improve your gas mileage just by plugging them in — and this is where fact begins to separate from fiction. None of these devices have actually been proven to work properly; some claim they break up clumped fuel molecules, some claim they smooth out your electrical system, but none actually produce noticeable increases in your gas mileage. In fact, they may actually worse in it some cases, and they do so while wasting the money you spent on them.
- Fuel additives increase gas mileage: Another common product you’ll see in gas stations is various forms of “fuel additives,” which claim they increase fuel economy. Again, these don’t actually work, but they can make your fuel more combustible with the right additives. However, you’d actually need to alter the composition of gasolines themselves in order for this to work — which is not recommended due to the dangers involved.
- Manual transmissions get better mileage: We can at least understand where this one comes from — it used to be true, after all. However, modern advances in automatic transmissions have basically rendered that fact obsolete. While it’s true that manual transmissions are still slightly more efficient on the highway, you’re not going to see a substantial difference in mileage between the two over a long period of time.
- Higher-octane gas improves MPG: Just like fuel additives, while higher-octane gas may have several very real positive impacts on your vehicle, improved gas mileage is not one of them. A major benefit you’ll see is that it allows your vehicle to maintain its optimum RPMs in many cases, which means more efficient power output, but your fuel economy isn’t impacted.
- Air filter impacts fuel economy: Finally, another area where the truth has changed over time is within the air filter. When carbureted engines were still utilized, the cleanliness of your filter actually did play a role in your gas mileage — but today’s vehicles have computer systems that automatically adjust their fuel-to-air ratio, so no matter how dirty your filter is, it won’t impact this (though it can create issues in other areas).
The Truth About Improving Fuel Economy
Now, while all the areas we’ve gone over serve as misconceptions about improving your fuel economy, there is one broad theme that actually will help you out here: How you drive and maintain your vehicle. Between several areas of standard maintenance and a few specific tactics while driving or parking the car, here are some examples of ways you can create small improvements to your fuel economy and gas mileage:
- Proper vehicle maintenance: You might be shocked at just how much proper vehicle maintenance will impact your fuel economy. From your vehicle’s air filter to its tire pressure, from the state of its fluids — including oil and brake fluid — to whether or not it has a clean bill of health from an emissions test, everything impacts your car’s mileage. Some of these you can do yourself, while others will need a professional mechanic — but neglecting any of them could cause your vehicle to waste gas.
- Driving more cautiously: This follows on the previous point, but if you’re driving more responsibly and taking precautions like avoiding rapid acceleration or braking, you’ll gradually increase your mileage. However, this isn’t just about safety — another major benefit is that it reduces wear-and-tear on your car, which means that the engine has to work less hard in order to get where it’s going.
- Limiting excess weight: There are a few ways in which excess weight will impact your vehicle’s fuel economy, from the way it affects your engine to whether or not it increases wind resistance from the open road. If you remove any unnecessary items from inside and outside of your car, you can make small but noticeable improvements to your mileage that add up over time.
- Use less AC: If you can limit your usage of this option, you’ll not only save yourself some dough at the pump but also reduce your carbon footprint.
- Coast when possible — but not in neutral: Coasting is great for fuel economy, but you must be sure not to do this in neutral. Not only is it dangerous and often counterproductive, it’s even illegal in many places. For most vehicles on the road today, simply removing your foot from the gas pedal engages settings where basically no fuel at all is being used.
For more on the facts and fiction of fuel economy for any vehicle, or to learn about any of our used cars for sale, speak to the pros at Adonis Auto Group today.