Top 10 Myths About Mileage Busted!

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Squeezing the maximum mileage out of a vehicle is any vehicle owner's priority. There have been loads of theories as in how to save fuel in a car and how a person can get the maximum fuel economy.

Most commonly heard suggestions are turn off the air conditioning, never stop and start a car multiple times when dropping off people, and even that additives help increase fuel economy.

Well, what if all these suggestions are a heap of crap? In our list we take a look at ten such myths, and blow the cover on them.

The story continues in the next slide.

10. Using premium gasoline for vehicles recommended with regular gasoline makes no change in fuel economy:

Well, this is false. Premium gasoline does increase the vehicle's overall mileage, but marginally. Regular fuel is usually cheaper than premium fuel, so the mileage squeezed out of using premium gasoline is as good as filling extra regular fuel.

9. Installing an old-school gas cap with a lock prevents fuel theft:

Although this may sound very apt, it's false. New vehicles are designed to let fuel in and not out through the gas inlet. They actually have a secondary baffle that makes it near impossible to put a hose and siphon out the gas from a tank.

8. Filling tyres with extra air will make it heavier and won't roll easily:

False. This weird sounding technique of filling extra air theoretically helps the car roll easier, hence saving fuel. Over inflated tyres will help getting more mileage, but has its bad effects as well. For one, the tire wear out will be really quick, two, the ride will be very very bumpy and three is the vehicle won't handle well. It is advisable to stick to the manufacturer-recommended tyre pressure.

7. Using additives with fuel can extract more mileage:

Well, it's not true. Fuel additives have been tested on various occasions and failed. A person can fill extra few litres of gas instead of spending that money on buying additives. A few cheap additives can even damage a vehicle engine and the manufacturer is not going to let you claim warranty.

6. Upsizing tyres will not harm fuel efficiency:

Thats is one of the biggest reasons for a vehicle to drop its fuel economy. The bigger the tyre, the more contact it has on the road and more energy from the engine is required. Smaller tyres weigh less than larger tyres, so less energy is needed to get them rolling, and also to stop them. It is probably not worth switching to smaller tyres either, since any gains in fuel economy would be offset by the added cost of re-gearing to keep your engine operating in its most efficient rpm range. The stock tyres that the manufacturer suggests will suit the car best.

5. Driving a pickup truck with the tailgate down reduces drag:

False again. Modern pickup trucks are designed to let the air flow over the empty flatbed of the truck than into it. In fact, driving it around with the tailgate open could damage the hinges due to vibration and fixing the hinges is much more expensive than the fuel saved!

4. Stopping and starting an engine uses much more fuel than letting it idle:

False as well. New vehicles are fuel injected. It is highly advisable to switch off the engine when the vehicle is going to idle for more than 10 seconds. Letting the engine idle for longer than that will only waste fuel and modern vehicles use very little fuel to start. A study showed that Americans waste USD 13 million (INR 80,30,75,000) idling their vehicles everyday! That's a lot of fuel!

3. Turning off the air conditioner on the highway gives more economy:

False again. Old vehicles used a lot of power from the engine, thus required to be driven harder and hence lose valuable fuel economy. Modern vehicles are designed better and air conditioners are more effective. Driving on the highway with the windows down creates a lot of drag and this reduces the vehicles fuel economy more than turning on the air conditioner.

2. The best time to tank up the car is any time:

Untrue. The best time to fuel the car is early morning when the temperature is cool. Fuel tends to expand, so hotter the temperature, the more likely you are to get less fuel. Petrol pumps deliver fuel in volumes. Fuel is dense during early hours because of the temperature and you will get more fuel.

1. Driving a car in the hills give the same economy compared to driving in the plains:

False. Cars, when driven in windy hill roads give lower fuel economy because the vehicle is constantly in lower gears compared with driving in the plains. Lower gears mean that the car is using more fuel and hence, lower mileage. So if mileage is the only thing in mind and not fun, stay away from the hills.

Story first published: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 16:59 [IST]
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