One of the cold hard facts of driving today will is that gas prices are going higher and they probably won’t ever be coming back down. Most people can wrap their head around this fact quite well and indeed the average person is doing everything they can to save as much money on gasoline as possible. Maintaining their cars, getting rid of all the junk in the trunk to lighten up the load and combining lots of small trips into bigger ones are all great ideas and all helpful. Simply put, at nearly 4 dollars a gallon nationwide anything that you can do to lower your gasoline usage is going to help you out in the finance department.
Here’s the thing though; some of the tips that have been being passed around on the Internet haven’t exactly been put to the test in the ‘real world’. The fact is, just because somebody online says that something will save you money on gasoline doesn’t exactly make it true. While there aren’t many tips floating around that will actually do the opposite and cost you more at the pump, there are some that, while they sound good, really don’t do anything to save you any extra money by lowering your gas consumption. We put this blog together to highlight 4 tips that, while they sound like they will help you save money, actually don’t save you very much because they don’t lower your gas mileage enough to make that much of a difference. (Sorry.) Enjoy.
One tip that we’ve heard for quite some time is that you should buy your gas early in the morning. The reason for this is, as the advocates of this ‘tip’ will tell you, that since the gasoline will be colder in the morning it will also be denser and you will get more when you fill up your tank. While physically it is true that any liquid while take up less space when it is colder, the simple fact is that gasoline is stored in large tanks underground at most gas stations. These tanks keep the gasoline at a pretty stable temperature no matter what time of the day is and so purchasing your fuel in the morning, in the afternoon, or after a 2 AM snack run probably isn’t going to make any type of noticeable difference in how much you get. Of course, with gas prices rising so quickly it might be desirable to purchase your gas in the morning only because, by the time you’re ready to go home and the afternoon, the price might have gone up again. (Yes, that’s us being facetious.)
There is one interesting tidbit floating around the Internet that says that if you over-inflate your tires you will save money on gasoline. The logic behind this isn’t as sound as some people might think however. While it is very true that underinflated tires can decrease your gas mileage the simple fact is that over inflating them to decrease the amount of rubber that’s hitting the road will not only not save you anything but also is slightly dangerous and will also cause your tires to wear down at a faster rate. With tires being one of the most expensive parts to replace on your car we feel it’s safe to say that keeping your tires at the recommended psi is a much better idea in terms of saving money than over-inflating them to try and save a few bucks.
This next ‘tip’ will really cause a lot of debate between, well, practically everyone. It’s about whether or not you should turn off your air-conditioning and open your car’s windows to save gas. There are many people that will tell you that your car’s air conditioning uses quite a bit of extra gas and that, as often as you can handle it, you should turn the air conditioning off and open the windows. On the other hand, there are many that will tell you that opening the windows increases your cars drag and thus increases the amount of gasoline it uses. The fact is that, when tested, it was found that most cars had almost exactly the same mileage when driven using the air-conditioning as when driven using no air conditioning and leaving the windows open. Since everyone will agree that sitting in a hot car in the middle of summer is not a lot of fun, using your cars A/C to keep cool and comfy is a much better idea than trying to save a few pennies on gasoline by turning it off.
One last tip that has got quite a bit of mileage (pun intended) is one that actually made it onto the Discovery Channel’s show MythBusters. This one has to do with pickup trucks and whether or not to leave the tailgate up or down. The tip that has been circulated around the Internet is that, if you leave the tailgate down, your pickup truck will have lower wind resistance and thus use less gas. The nice folks on MythBusters actually tested this theory and found that exactly the opposite was true and that keeping the tailgate up actually was a better idea. They also found that putting a cover on the bed of your pickup truck did very little to change its fuel efficiency so, if you’re planning on making that investment, you might want to consider it further.
In the end there are quite a few things that you can do to lower the amount of gasoline that you use and save money at the pumps. Carpooling, driving your car less, driving a hybrid car and so forth are all great ideas to be sure. Just remember that, even though a gasoline saving ‘tip’ might sound like a good idea, it’s always best to do your own research and find out for yourself if it really helps.
We hope you enjoyed this blog today and that it opened your eyes to some facts about all of those gas saving tips you’ve been hearing about. Please come back and see us again soon as we’re always here with more tips, more advice and more common sense info about all things financial. See you then.