Many myths surround ideas about fuel efficiency

Taking steps to conserve fuel is a good way for drivers to save money and benefit the environment, but misconceptions abound about how to achieve fuel efficiency.

Drivers and automotive professionals alike share common myths about fuel efficiency that don’t work. The following are some of the more widely held myths about fuel efficiency.

Full tanks conserve fuel

Many believe a nearly full tank of gas means fuel is less likely to evaporate, and that half-full tanks are losing gas to evaporation.

This might have been the case years ago, but vehicles today have vapor recovery systems to trap gas vapors and recycle them, so fuel tanks don’t lose gas to evaporation.

Manual transmissions are more fuel efficient

At one time, manual transmission vehicles held an edge over automatic transmissions. Drivers could more efficiently control engine revving with a 5-speed manual transmission than they could with the standard 3-speed automatic transmission.

However, automatic transmissions have evolved over the years and are more adept at controlling revs and conserving fuel than many manual transmission vehicles.

When you fill up matters

Liquids are at their most dense when they are cool, and this fact has led to one of the more widely-held misconceptions.

Some drivers have long believed filling up during the cooler hours of the day earns them more gas than filling up when the temperatures are at their peak. Warmer days equal less gas, so the myth goes.

But filling stations store gas in tanks beneath the ground. These underground tanks are insulated from temperature swings, so you aren’t likely to receive any more gas by filling up in the morning than you will when filling up at night.

An old vehicle is destined to be less fuel efficient

The age of a vehicle is not as important as the maintenance it receives.

A poorly maintained car will not operate at peak fuel efficiency because it has to work harder to get down the street than a well-kept car. Well-maintained vehicles should not grow less fuel efficient over time.

Shifting into neutral while stopping saves gas

When engines still had carburetors, shifting into neutral while idling helped conserve fuel by stopping the flow of gas into the engine.

Computerized fuel injection systems have replaced carburetors, and can sense when an engine is revving above idle. The fuel injectors temporarily shut off, preventing gas from being wasted while the vehicle is stopped.

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