Gas-Mileage Myths Debunked

GENERIC: Gas Pump Nozzle
With gas prices at record levels, there's no better time to learn once and for all how to get the best mileage out of your car.

Consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen says much of the "conventional wisdom" on how to get the most miles-per-gallon isn't all that wise, and she reviews some surefire ways to improve mileage, on The Early Show Tuesday.


Gas Saving Gadgets

The Environmental Protection Agency tested about 100 of these gadgets and said most do nothing for your car. In fact, they may hurt your engine. Consumer Reports magazine also tested some of the gadgets and advised that you save your money: They don't work.

Using air conditioning wastes gas

Not always, according to Consumer Reports. If you're going more than 40 miles per hour, it's probably better to have the air conditioning on. But if you're driving around town at 30 miles per hour, keeping the windows down will be your best bet.


Are they best when it comes to gas efficiency? Not always. You need to do your homework if you're interested in buying a hybrid. Some of them, but not all of them, will save you money on gas, particularly when you factor in the purchase price.

To visit the Consumer Reports Guide to Stretching Your Fuel Dollars, click here.


"No loitering"

Don't let the engine idle any longer than necessary. After starting the car in the morning, begin driving right away; don't let it sit and "warm up" for several minutes. An engine actually warms up more quickly while driving. It's more efficient to turn off most gasoline engines than to have them idle any longer than 30 seconds.

Stay warm

An engine runs most inefficiently when it's cold. It not only uses more fuel, but creates the most exhaust emissions and suffers the most wear. Avoid many short, separate trips, and unnecessary cold starts, by combining as many errands as possible into one trip.