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News Room

Fuel Saving Myths That Too Many People Believe

Megan Ellis
2017-06-02
Petrol prices strain our budgets, so it's no wonder we try to save fuel. However there are some fuel saving tips that are simply untrue...
Petrol prices have always been a strain on consumers' wallets, so it's no wonder why people try to follow as many fuel-saving tips as they can. However, some of the beliefs around fuel saving are actually myths. CompareGuru takes a look at common myths and the reasons they have been debunked.

Myth 1: Smaller = More Efficient

While this might have been true years ago, advances in fuel technology mean that a car's fuel efficiency is no longer only affected by the car's size and weight. Rather, factors like fuel injection, advanced transmission, hybrid engines and tyre resistance all play a role now. We recently looked at some of the most fuel efficient cars and surprisingly, the BMW I8 and the Mercedes-Benz S500e L are a part of the list!

Myth 2: Having Your Car in Neutral Saves Petrol

The great neutral myth is a common belief. Many people believe than coasting on a downhill in neutral or idling in neutral will save you petrol. Unfortunately, this just isn't true, with fuel injection being behind the falsehood. The Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) says that thanks to fuel injection technology, your car is able to sense when you are idling. Therefore it stops injecting fuel regardless of which gear you're in. When it comes to coasting downhill in neutral, MIWA has also debunked the fuel saving myth.
"This is one of the biggest myths thrown around. The truth is that when coasting in neutral, the engine is idling, consuming just as much petrol as when it's idling at a traffic light or warming up in your driveway," the association says. "The reality is that it’s actually a bad idea to roll downhill or up to a stop sign in neutral because you need to be able to use the accelerator to avoid any unexpected road hazard. Cars don't handle well in neutral during sharp cornering manoeuvres."

Myth 3: Manual is Always More Efficient Than Automatic

This is another myth that used to be true decades ago but has become a fallacy over the last decade. Automatic vehicles have greatly improved since their introduction, including when it comes to fuel efficiency. Furthermore, many technologically advanced vehicles come with automatic transmissions nowadays - and these advanced vehicles are typically more fuel efficient. You should rather look at cars on a case-by-case basis and not just make an assumption based on its transmission.
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Myth 4: Topping Up Your Tank Saves Petrol

Some people top up their tank even if the fuel indicator says it's full as a way to save petrol. However, according to Boston.com, this is just another myth. People who believe the myth think that a full tank keeps petrol from evaporating - but cars already have systems in place to prevent this. Furthermore, attempting to keep filling a full tank usually means the petrol pump will switch off and return any extra fuel to the petrol station's storage tanks. You don't want to run the risk of paying for petrol that didn't actually go inside your car. There is also the risk of damage to your tank's systems if you keep trying to add more fuel when it is full. Keeping your tank half full at all times also doesn't save you petrol either. Once again, your tank has systems in place to prevent evaporation.

Myth 5: Additives and Gadgets For Fuel Saving

This myth has been debunked by several organisations, but some people still believe that adding chemicals like acetone to their tank can help save gas. This can actually damage your tank - and there's no fuel saving benefit. In fact, the EPA has tested many fuel additives and hasn't found any that make a real difference to fuel efficiency. There are also those who are the motor industry's equivalent of snake oil salesmen who say they have gadgets that can save you petrol. According to MIWA, these include magnetic devices which purport to align atoms and other fake devices. Not only are you wasting money on gadgets which don't work, you could also be damaging your vehicle.
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Myth 6: Idling Rather Than Restarting

Some motorists believe that it takes more petrol to restart your car than to simply idle.  In fact, idling is a considerable gas waster. This is why start-stop technology is gaining popularity in the market. Don't go switching off your engine at stop lights though. But if you're going to be staying still for more than five minutes, you should rather switch off the engine. This is especially true at Stop-Go systems for road construction or road closures that result in traffic congestion that isn't moving.
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