Maximizing fuel economy: The Good, the Bad, and the Mythical


Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment


We advocate for affordable, clean energy to power our homes and our vehicles.

By Marc Priester on Friday, August 22nd, 2014


When it comes to saving fuel, everyone could use extra help . Here are some tips on what to do, what to avoid, and what is flat out false when it comes to saving money on gas in your car. Compiling tips and tricks from the Federal Trade Commission, The Department of Energy and from Consumer Reports, here are our recommendations:



  • Drive smoothly and at a moderate speed
  • Use cruise control
  • Use overdrive gear when possible
  • Use the fan and cut down on A/C usage
  • Tune the engine regularly Change the oil regularly
  • Keep tires inflated at the proper pressure



  • Take down roof racks or other roof top equipment when not in use. They can cause extra drag
  • Cut your engine off if you’re parked.  Idling gets you 0 mpg, and can use large amounts of gas
  • Curb aggressive driving such as rapid acceleration and braking
  • Remove excess weight (bags, cargo etc.), that weight requires more gas to haul



  • Higher octane gas, or “premium” gas, offers no added benefit of gas mileage. Regular octane gives you equal performance and saves you cash
  • Filling up when the outside temperature is lower, will actually not improve mileage. Many believe filling up in cooler morning temperatures will promote higher fuel economy, but this is simply false
  • “Warming up” your car before you drive does not save boost fuel economy. The best and most fuel efficient way to warm up the car is to simply drive after ignition
  • Although a dirty air filter is something we discourage, replacing a dirty air filter on a newer model will have no effect on fuel economy.





One response to “Maximizing fuel economy: The Good, the Bad, and the Mythical”

  1. Don says:

    Please stop telling people that cruise control saves gas. That’s only true on flat terrain. On hilly terrain, like we have here in Boston, it uses more gas — a lot more.

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