Debunking 5 Myths about Maximizing Gas Mileage

Five Fuel Efficient Used SUVs in Sudbury, ON

In today's world of rising fuel costs and environmental consciousness, maximizing gas mileage has become a top priority for many drivers. However, with the abundance of information available online and through word of mouth, it's easy to fall prey to common myths and misconceptions about improving fuel efficiency. Continue reading below as our team at Auto Depot Sudbury has pin-pointed five widely believed myths about maximizing gas mileage that we aim to debunk, helping you separate fact from fiction and helping you, our valued customers, make informed choices.

Myth #1: Premium Fuel Boosts Gas Mileage

One of the most persistent myths about maximizing gas mileage is that using premium gasoline will enhance your vehicle's fuel efficiency. However, the truth is that unless your car specifically requires premium fuel, using it provides little to no significant benefits. The difference between premium fuel and regular unleaded fuel is that it has a higher octane rating, which is designed to prevent knocking in high-performance engines. If you’re wondering whether or not your vehicle requires premium fuel, consult your owner's manual. For most vehicles however, using regular fuel should be more than sufficient. To put it bluntly, using premium fuel in a vehicle that does not require it is simply a waste of money, as it does not improve gas mileage.

Myth #2: Keeping Your Car Idling is More Fuel-Efficient Than Turning It Off

Another common misconception about maximizing gas mileage is the idea that keeping your vehicle idling is more fuel-efficient than turning it off. Although it may seem like leaving your engine running while parked is a better option to avoid the fuel needed for restarting the engine, you may actually be doing more harm than good. In actuality, idling for extended periods of time consumes more fuel than restarting your engine. That’s why a lot of modern vehicles have an auto start/stop feature for when the vehicle isn’t moving. As a general rule of thumb, if you anticipate being stopped for more than 30 seconds, it is more fuel-efficient to turn off your engine. Furthermore, modern vehicles are designed to start quickly and efficiently, so don't hesitate to switch off your engine when waiting at a long traffic light or in a parking lot.

Myth #3: Using Fuel Additives Significantly Improves Gas Mileage

We’ve all seen ads that make all sorts of claims that using fuel additives can substantially boost fuel efficiency. While some additives may have cleaning properties that can remove carbon deposits, their impact on gas mileage is minimal. The majority of vehicles on the road today have been engineered to run optimally without the use of any additives. The money you spend on the additives themselves negates the minimal, if any fuel-efficiency impacts that they may have. Regular maintenance, such as keeping your engine properly tuned, maintaining the correct tire pressure, and using the factory-recommended grade of motor oil, will have a far more substantial impact on fuel efficiency than any fuel additive.

Myth #4: Drafting Behind Larger Vehicles Saves Fuel

Another widely held belief about maximizing fuel-efficiency is the idea of “drafting”. The theory is that by closely following behind a larger vehicle, you reduce wind resistance on your own vehicle, thus increasing fuel efficiency. The truth is, drafting is a dangerous practice that we highly recommend against. While it may reduce wind drag, it significantly increases the risk of accidents, as you have limited visibility, less time and less space to react to sudden changes in traffic. Additionally, drafting is illegal in many Canadian jurisdictions, including Northern Ontario. The marginal fuel savings achieved through drafting are negligible and do not outweigh the potential risks involved. Instead, focus on driving smoothly, maintaining a consistent speed, and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.

Myth #5: Increasing Tire Pressure Beyond the Recommended Level Improves Fuel Efficiency

Maintaining the proper tire pressure is crucial for fuel efficiency, but inflating your tires beyond the manufacturer's recommended level does not offer any significant benefits. Overinflated tires can reduce traction, leading to unsafe driving conditions and uneven tire wear. It's essential to regularly check your tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended level specified in your vehicle's manual. Properly inflated tires will reduce rolling resistance, resulting in better fuel efficiency without compromising safety or tire longevity.

Maximizing gas mileage is a goal shared by many drivers, but it's important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to fuel efficiency. Dispelling common myths allows us to make informed decisions that are both economically and environmentally responsible. We here at Auto Depot Sudbury are committed to ensuring that our customers are well informed and remain safe while out on the road. By keeping in mind the debunked facts listed above and adopting good driving habits, we’re confident that your vehicle will remain reliable and fuel-efficient for years to come.