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Fuel-Saving Tips That Do Not Really Save

5856850771_49e3e53693_zYou might have read a lot about fuel efficiency and how to save gas. Unfortunately, not everything presented as facts is true. We’ve got a short discussion below about some of the most common fuel-saving misconceptions.

1. Shift to neutral at stops.

This may be true several years ago when engines then required carburetors. But vehicles today have engines with fuel-injection systems which can sense and tell you if the engine is revving beyond idle when the throttle is fully closed. In that case, no fuel is being injected to the engine when your foot is off the gas pedal even if your vehicle’s in gear.

Thus, shifting to neutral at stops does not really save you gas. What that achieves is only premature wearing of the shifting components.

2. Manual transmissions are more fuel-efficient than automatic transmissions.

Years back, manual transmissions are more fuel-efficient than automatics because you can control the engine revs through shifting. But today’s advanced automatic transmissions can save you more fuel than a traditional clutch-and-stick shift can do. There is also the automatic manual transmission which offers a combination of the benefits of a manual and an automatic transmission.

3. Fuel economy declines as the vehicle gets old.

According to, fuel economy normally improves over the first years of ownership or about the first 5,000 miles of a vehicle. But the overall performance, including fuel economy, of your vehicle will certainly deteriorate over time without proper maintenance.

Regular engine maintenance is the secret to keeping your vehicle’s reliability and efficiency. It also allows you to find out and fix problems, which might hurt fuel economy badly, as early as possible. In this way, there’s no way your engine will be any less fuel-efficient over time.

4. A dirty air filter hurts a vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

A dirty air filter used to lower mileage in older vehicles. But with fuel-injected engines used by modern vehicles now, that shouldn’t be the case anymore. These engines use a computerized engine control module which regulates the air-to-fuel ratio. This is why a dirty air filter on a modern engine won’t significantly affect fuel economy.

5. Premium gas is the best in terms of fuel economy.

Oil companies may have subliminally told consumers that premium gas has something to do with fuel economy. But experts discourage consumers from filling in a vehicle’s tank with gas that’s not recommended for that vehicle. If your car is designed for regular gas, stick with it and don’t go premium unless recommended in the owner’s manual. But in general, using higher-octane gas does not really have a significant effect on any vehicle’s fuel economy and performance. Gassing up with premium only makes you spend more unnecessarily.

Photo credit: Images Money / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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