Now that my new job brings me to another state (well, we live near the NC/SC state line–my job is about 25 miles away) I am more interested in my daily commute in terms of gas mileage. An internet search for gas tips will turn up a myriad of tips and tricks that seem almost too good to be true.
Usually they are. Additives, tornadoes and tips like the following really interest me because–well, I’m curious.
1. Only fill up your auto in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. All service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground, the more dense the gasoline. As the ground warms, gasoline expands, and so buying in the afternoon or in the evening… your gallon is not exactly a gallon.
2. When you’re filling up, use the slowest speed; do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. The trigger has 3 stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode, vapors created by pumping are minimized. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping quickly, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor and gets sucked back into the underground storage tank.
3. Most importantly, fill up when your tank is half full. The reason is that the more gas you have in your tank, the less air you have occupying the empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine.
4. Last, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up — Most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as more pours into the tanks, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.
Ok, now we have all had these tips (or similar ones) sent to us or overheard at the water cooler. Me being the skeptic, I went ahead and copied and pasted most of the sentences in a search and have seen literally thousands of these same tips on a wide variety of websites. So that in itself validates that they are true, right?
Wrong. When I see things like this, I usually go to my ace in the hole……Snopes. It turns out that these tips may in fact be true, but to a certain point. Their case is that do the minuscule savings actually outweigh the time and trouble of actually trying to remember to do all of them?
I tend to agree. Not one of these tips can generate much savings by themselves, but who really can fill up early in the morning, less than a half of a tank, without the delivery being conducted, and at a station that you know has good thermal tanks and vapor return?
Snopes describes this topic the best, “The bottom line is that there are much easier and better ways of improving the efficiency of your car (and thus of saving you money at the pump) than the tips outlined above. Particularly important is proper maintenance, including engine tune-ups, wheel alignments, tire pressure checks, and filter replacement.
Mileage can also be improved by removing from the car little-used equipment that adds weight or increases drag (e.g., sporting gear, tools, roof racks/carriers). Driving habits are especially important: jackrabbit stops and starts eat up extra fuel, as does driving at higher speeds. All in all, the simple habit of engaging in planning and combining multiple trips into one excursion will likely save the average motorist far more money (and time) than all four of the above tips combined.”
The URL for the article can be found here