Gas Saving Myths and Truths

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

August 15, 2005

Gas in Charlottesville is the highest it has ever been. AAA reports that a gallon averaged at $2.41 cents. We've all heard rumors about how to save gas, but which one of these myths are actually true?

Gas is up about 20 cents from last month. One of the biggest gas guzzlers is the air conditioning.

"If you're on the road it probably doesn't burn that much more fuel, but if you're in town running the AC where you truly do need it, it probably burns two to three more miles per gallon," said Butch Losh Manager of SpeeDee Oil Change & Tune-up.

Car speed does matter.

"Driving 60 or 65 in that range. I guess when I'm about to be out of gas my brother's like stay around about 60, 65," said driver Angela Briggs.

True for small and many foreign cars, but slightly slower speeds are better for other cars.

"If they're high rev engines and they are geared differently and are running real hard at 65, I would say 55 is better," said Losh.

And fuel grade.

"Well I think that most owners manuals tell you to use the lowest octane rating that your car will permit, so we try to do that," said driver Linda Phillips-Madson.

A myth.

"It'll operate, it doesn't say how efficient it will be on there," said Losh. "Don't short yourself at the gas pump. Seriously. $2.30 a gallon or $2.50 a gallon--when you've got a 10 gallon tank, 20 cents is $2.00. Use the good gas. You'll get it back in the long run."

For a short stop--should you turn off your car, or keep in running?

"Just turn it off, I just turn it off, this is what I do," said driver Carole Saker.

"It's kind of like a light bulb in the house. If you leave a light on it's going to burn less electricity when you leave it on, than when you turn it on and off," said Losh.

As for vehicle maintenance: having a clean air filter and servicing your fuel injectors will save you gas in the long run.

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