Do You have some of those “Pieces Of Advice” stored in the back of your head that GrandPa passed along to you about gas mileage when driving in used cars?
Well, some of what you think you know about car mileage may be wrong, and it might cost you money when you get behind the wheel of that used car fuel saver.
The EPA offeres some informative information called “the top 10 misconceptions about fuel economy.”
Here are some of the misconception myths about gas car mileage:
- Using premium gasoline will improve your gas mileage –If you had a dime for every dollar people have squandered pumping premium into cars that don’t need it, you’d never worry about gasoline prices again. Using a higher fuel grade than the automaker recommends will almost certainly have no effect on your gas mileage. However, pumping a lower grade in the fuel tank than recommended can damage your engine and will probably increase fuel consumption and cost you money and gas mileage.
- Smaller vehicles always get better fuel economy, gas mileage – Hybrids, diesels, new technologies and smart engineering like Toyota Prius can create vehicles that combine fuel efficiency, gas mileage with room and comfort. Chevrolet will market its 2011 Cruze as a compact, but its interior room qualifies as a midsize by EPA standards. Despite that, the car’s 40-m.p.g. highway rating may be impressive.
- A manual transmission will give you better fuel economy than an automatic – Maybe so in used cars…But, Modern automatic transmissions often provide better gas mileage than a manual, thanks largely to extra gears and electronic controls. The 2011 Ford Mustang V6’s EPA rating of 19 m.p.g. in the city and 31 m.p.g. on the highway is 1 m.p.g. better on the highway than a Mustang with the same engine and a manual transmission. The same thing is true for cars ranging from the compact Honda Civic to the $85,550 BMW 650ci luxury convertible.
- Vehicles need to warm up before you drive them – Electronic engine controls mean a modern vehicle is running at or near maximum efficiency as soon as you start it. Letting the car warm up for a few minutes simply wastes fuel.
- Aftermarket additives will dramatically improve your fuel economy – Forget it. They’re more likely to damage your engine or increase your tailpipe emissions. For more information on this, go the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site and look up Gas-Saving Products: Fact or Fuelishness?
- It takes more fuel to restart the engine than let it idle – This was true when inefficient carburetors metered fuel use in used cars, but modern fuel injection means that you save energy by turning the engine off. This does NOT mean you should shut the engine off at every stoplight or when you’re waiting in line. That can wear out your starter and slow all the other drivers, irritating them and leading to wasted fuel in all the vehicles. However, stop-start systems that efficiently shut the engine off are a key part of how hybrids save fuel. Nearly every new vehicle will have a fast and efficient automatic stop-start feature in a few years.
- The window-sticker mileage figures are a guarantee of the mileage you’ll get – Not even close. How you drive has a massive impact on your car mileage. However, the window-sticker figures are the only way to realistically compare fuel economy, gas mileage, and operating costs when you shop for a new vehicle. The numbers are generated in lab tests, so every vehicle is held to the same standard. “Your mileage will vary” as the fine print says, but you can trust that a higher EPA rating will save you money.