Debunking Fuel Myths

September 29, 2023
David Lamb
  • Half-tank vs. Full-tank? Some argue driving with a half-tank reduces weight and thus, fuel consumption. However, the weight of a full fuel tank is less than 5% of a car's total weight. Hence, any savings from driving half-filled are minimal and offset by more frequent refueling trips.
  • Running on Low Fuel? It's risky. Low fuel levels can cause the engine to draw debris from the tank's bottom, potentially damaging the fuel filter, pump, or even the catalytic converter. Aim to refuel before the gauge drops below a quarter.
  • Driving Post Zero Fuel Gauge? Once your fuel gauge reads zero, you might still have 10-20 miles worth of fuel left. However, it's not a safe practice and can be detrimental to your vehicle in the long run.
  • The Optimal Speed for Fuel Efficiency? A common misconception points to 56mph as the most fuel-efficient speed, stemming from historical fuel consumption tests. In reality, most cars perform best at 45-50mph, but numerous factors influence overall fuel efficiency.
  • Refueling Time of Day? While some suggest refuelling in the cool early morning or late night offers denser fuel and better value, this theory isn't practically significant. Most fuel stations store petrol or diesel in temperature-controlled underground tanks, ensuring consistent fuel temperatures.
  • Preventing Fuel Evaporation? Some believe keeping the tank half-full reduces evaporation. However, even in nearly empty tanks, the liquid-to-vapor ratio of gasoline remains stable. Any supposed savings from this method would be negligible.

Fuel-Efficient Driving: A Comprehensive Guide

In today's fast-paced world, we are all searching for ways to maximize efficiency. For drivers, this often translates into improving fuel economy. Let's dive deep into some expert-advised methods to make your car's fuel last longer.

1. Efficient Gear Shifting
  • One of the foundational aspects of fuel-efficient driving is to up shift early. Excessive speed is a notorious fuel waster, and driving at high revolutions per minute (RPM) escalates fuel consumption. Emphasize shifting up early and driving in the highest gear without exceeding speed limits.
  • Smooth driving without sudden braking, sharp turns, or rapid acceleration also conserves fuel. Aim for anticipatory driving, letting gears handle most of the work, and accelerating only when necessary.
2. Monitor Tyre Pressure
  • The importance of correct tyre pressure can't be overstressed. Under-inflated tyres cause a drag effect that leads to increased fuel consumption. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found a 0.3% drop in fuel economy for every 1% decrease in tyre pressure. Make it a habit to regularly check and adjust tyre pressures as specified in your car's manual or on the fuel tank flap.
3. Limit AC and Heating Use
  • Comfort is crucial, but frequent use of the car's heating or air conditioning can drain fuel, as they demand engine power. On extremely cold or hot days, consider adjusting your attire to reduce the need for temperature control inside the car.
4. Minimize Additional Weight
  • Additional weight, like roof boxes or racks, creates wind resistance or "drag." For instance, an empty roof rack can increase drag by 16% at 75mph, and a roof box can up this to 39%. Also, remember that storing items in your car boot makes the vehicle heavier, marginally increasing fuel consumption.
5. Plan Your Trips
  • A cold engine consumes more fuel than a warmed-up one. Combining multiple errands or tasks into a single trip can prevent the engine from cooling down completely, saving fuel.

David Lamb

35 years experience in retail management, marketing, I.T and design

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In an ever-changing retail world, Ascona Group aims to bring right-on-time convenience, service and quality to motorists and communities. Forecourts have a new champion.