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Paying For Gas Stinks: Tips To Save Fuel

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I got a new (to me) truck a couple weeks ago and I haven't questioned my decision to do so until yesterday. I had to fill up the gas tank. That was not fun to say the least. Gas isn't cheap and we all want to get the best gas mileage on our vehicles as possible. Here's some tips for that:


7 Common Fuel-Saving Misconceptions from

A dirty air filter drops gas mileage. Driving with a dirty air filter no longer has an impact on fuel economy, as it did with older engines. That's because modern engines use computers to precisely control the air/fuel ratio, depending on the amount of air coming in through the filter. Reducing airflow causes the engine to automatically reduce the amount of fuel being used. Fuel economy didn't change in the family sedan we tested, but it accelerated much more slowly with a dirty filter.

Warming up before driving isn't necessary
That was true back in the days of carburetors and chokes, but it isn’t the case with modern fuel-injected, electronically controlled drivetrains. Engines are most efficient when they’re at regular operating temperature, and the fastest way to reach that point is to drive right after starting the car.

Filling up when the air is cool gets you more gas
A common tip is to buy gasoline in the morning, when the air is cool, rather than in the heat of the day. The theory is that the cooler gasoline will be denser, so you will get more for your money. But most stations store the gasoline underground, so its temperature changes very little, if at all, during a 24-hour stretch. Any extra gas you get will be negligible.

No-name gas stations offer lower-quality fuel
Independent stations usually buy their fuel from larger, name-brand oil companies, so it’s not much different from what you’d get for a higher price down the road. Off-brand gasoline is sometimes formulated without additives designed to clean the engine, but your car should run fine on that gas.

Premium gas is always best
When it comes to regular, midgrade, and premium gasoline, oil corporations have worked overtime to drill the “good, better, best” concept into our collective driver psyche. Premium gas has a higher octane rating, usually 91 or above, making it more resistant to pre­ignition, a condition in which fuel burns uncontrollably in the engine. Higher-performing engines are the most susceptible to preignition because they tend to run hotter, which is why premium is often recommended or required for sports and luxury vehicles.

Driving with windows open hurts fuel economy
Some people advise you not to run the air conditioner because it puts more of a load on the engine, which can decrease fuel economy. But others say that opening the windows at highway speeds can affect gas mileage even more by disrupting the vehicle's aerodynamics. In tests of a Honda Accord, using air conditioning while driving at 65 mph reduced the vehicle's gas mileage by more than 3 mpg. The effect of opening the windows at 65 mph was not measurable.

Tires with low rolling resistance are always a smart choice
A lot of attention is paid to a tire’s rolling resistance, which is how much energy it takes to roll along. The lower the rolling resistance, the better your fuel economy will be. Maintaining the proper tire pressure will optimize the rolling resistance and real-world performance. Some tires gain low rolling resistance at the expense of wet-braking performance and tread life—a poor trade-off.


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Springfield, MO

NE at 7 mph


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