Have you filled up your car lately and cringed to see how much a tank of gas sets you back? The average cost of a gallon of unleaded gas has climbed above $3, with predictions that international unrest may drive prices even higher. We still have to drive to work and/or school, so we look for ways to squeeze more miles out of that pricey tank - but do those tricks you hear about amount to real savings? Here are six gas saving tips that don't actually work, and ways you can make the most of a gallon. (For a related reading, check out Ways To Save Money At The Pump.)

IN PICTURES: Top 5 Money-Saving Tips For Your Car



Turning Off the AC

Air conditioning in your home does a number on your electric bill, so it must drain your gas tank too, right? Not so much. Auto testing at Consumer Reports proves that running the AC uses such a nominal amount more in gas, you may as well turn on the AC and be comfortable on a hot day. Rolling down your windows can add drag, zapping your car's efficiency; for best gas mileage, run the fan and keep your windows rolled up.


Filling Up When It's Cold Outside
Get your gas in the evening or early morning - the fuel is cold, and therefore denser. The truth about this myth is that you can barely register a temperature difference, since gas is stored in cool underground tanks, so fill up when you want. There are no savings to be had by waiting until it's cool out.

IN PICTURES: 5 Ways To Buy A Used Car



Increasing Tire Pressure

To get the most out of your gallon of gas, you should pump up those tires, some say. While driving on underinflated tires can cost you 3.75% in fuel economy, overinflating tires can be downright dangerous, since it reduces your grip on the road and could cause an accident. Proper tire inflation is important for safety and longevity of your tires, but don't expect any significant gas savings there.

Pouring Additives

Where there's a need, there's a product, but that doesn't mean it actually works. Our desire for better fuel economy seems answered by fuel additives and even bolt-on devices - but they're a complete waste of money according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Changing the Air Filter
Taking care of your care is a good thing: you'll be able to drive it longer, and get the most of your money. Don't expect maintenance like changing the air filter to get you more miles out of the gas tank, though: Consumer Reports tests have shown that with today's computerized cars, clogged air filters don't actually reduce fuel economy. Take care of your car to make it last, but don't look at air filters to reduce your gas expense. (To learn more, see Getting A Grip On The Cost Of Gas.)


Keeping the Engine Running
Starting a car sucks up fuel, some say, so keep the engine idling when possible. That's bad advice: today's fuel-injected vehicles are efficient and don't waste gas during start-ups anymore. In fact, idling can cost you up to half a gallon of gas an hour, so turn off the engine if you're not going anywhere.

The Bottom Line
There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to saving gas. So what does actually help improve your fuel economy? Instead of looking at your car to improve fuel economy, try changing the way you drive. Calm driving on the highway - not zipping between lanes, tailgating or revving the engine so you quickly get up to speed - can improve your fuel efficiency a whopping 33%. Remove any excess weight from your car to bump fuel economy another 2%, and drive sixty miles an hour (when the speed limit allows) on the highway for another 23% improvement in fuel efficiency. In the end, best fuel economy comes from a calm and safe driver, something that's a good thing regardless of the price we pay at the pump. (For more, see The Top 5 Money-Saving Tips For Your Car.)

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Beer of the Month Subscription Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn how you can get access to some of the best craft beers produced in the world, delivered right to your front door every month.
  2. Budgeting

    Just the Right Book Review: Is It Worth It?

    Take an in-depth look at Just the Right Book, a subscription service that delivers personalized book selections based on your reading history and preferences.
  3. Savings

    What Your Credit Score Means for Your Love Life

    Wondering if your significant other wants to commit and is reliable? The Fed might have the answer.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    ‘Happy Birthday to You’ Belongs to Everyone Now

    A class action lawsuit over the copyright to the iconic American song “Happy Birthday to You” ends by placing the ubiquitous ditty in the public domain.
  5. Investing News

    Who Does Cheap Oil Benefit? See This Stock (DG)

    Cheap oil won't benefit most companies, but this retailer might buck that trend.
  6. Budgeting

    The Honest Company Bundles Review: Are They Worth It?

    Learn more about The Honest Company and its bundle subscription services, which deliver discounted diapers, formula and other baby products to your doorstep.
  7. Investing

    3 Healthy Financial Habits for 2016

    ”Winning” investors don't just set it and forget it. They consistently take steps to adapt their investment plan in the face of changing markets.
  8. Budgeting

    Blue Apron Review: Is It Worth It?

    Read about one of the top meal-kit delivery services in the United States, and learn more about what it offers and how much it costs.
  9. Stock Analysis

    JCPenney's Path To Profitability (JCP)

    Learn about what J.C. Penney's management team has been doing to profitably grow its business as the company recovers from years of revenue declines.
  10. Home & Auto

    The Latest Airbag Recalls: What to Do

    The latest warnings are from Honda/Acura and Dodge. How to look up your car – and what to do if you find it on the recall list.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center