Expert put brakes on advice for saving gas money - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Expert put brakes on advice for saving gas money

Some things will stretch gas dollars; some won't. Steve Mazor runs the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center and put tips to the test to see whether they are myth or truth. A few major myths and a couple of tips:

MYTH: Oil companies run up prices to cash in on Sunday drivers,
so the best time to fill up is Wednesday.

TRUTH: Just because that day is farthest from the weekend
doesn't mean drivers will save at the pump. "Really, prices are
being dictated regionally, so I don't think that plays a role
anymore," Mazor said.

MYTH: Morning is the best time of day to pump gas because gas is
denser when it is cooler.

TRUTH: It is true that gas is denser when it's colder, but
double-walled underground gas tanks retain the temperature of the
gas at the time it was pumped underground. To meet demand, tankers
pump gas underground around the clock.

"We sell gas so quickly that if it was hot when it went in, it
will be hot when it comes out," Mazor said. The difference may
amount to "a few cents a tank."

MYTH: A clean air filter makes a difference.

TRUTH: A few cars had slightly better fuel economy when dirty
air filters were replaced, but when cars were tested with blocked
air filters, fuel economy "didn't get worse, as we expected,"
Mazor said.

In fact, some cars slightly improved fuel economy with dirty air
filters, but "you make your car a polluter for maybe 1 percent
better fuel economy."

MYTH: Gizmos or additives like acetone will save gallons.

TRUTH: These products don't help even a little bit, Mazor said.

"We have tested many fuel additives and products ... or devices
that go on the battery cable, and none of them have ever shown any
measurable fuel economy improvement," Mazor said.

MYTH: It's better to idle than turn off your engine.

TRUTH: "If you're going to sit for more than about 90 seconds,
go ahead and turn it off," Mazor said. It's also a good idea to
avoid drive-thrus when visiting a fast food restaurant. "Try a
novel idea; park your car and go inside," Mazor said. And in a
drive-through, "you're going no distance at all; the longer you
idle, the more gas you use."

MYTH: It's always best to sweat it out without air-conditioning.

TRUTH: This is true for vehicles that were made before 1980, but
for modern cars, "it's a relatively small effect" because the
efficiency of air conditioning systems has "improved
dramatically," Mazor said.

"The rule of thumb that we tell people is if you're going below
45 mph, roll the windows down and turn the A/C off. But if you're
on the freeway, going faster, roll up your windows and use A/C,"
Mazor said. He warns that the effect is not dramatic, but is a good
habit that could save 5 percent on fuel economy.

Experts siad you can also check your tires, be more considerate, and stay calm.

Drivers can lose as much as 2 percent of their fuel efficiency for every pound their tires are underinflated.

And slamming on the brakes is the worst way to get around. "You just want to slow down a little, reduce your weight of acceleration; you do not want to hotrod," Mazor said.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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