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Cooley On Cars
Top 5: MORE fuel economy myths!We received a ton of e-mail about our "Top 5 fuel economy myths" segment and many of those messages we got from you were pointing out even MORE fuel economy myths. Here is a Top 5 that you came up with!
When you start talking about fuel economy, there's enough BS out there to make a palm reader jealous. I listed my top five fuel economy myths recently and that opened the floodgates to many more that irked you. I'm Brian Cooley with the top five more fuel economy myths. We've gotta do a top 10 one of these days. Number five, fill up your tank when it's cool outside. I put this low because if you're under 50, I bet you've never even heard this one. It's right up there with nuclear bomb drills. Now, yes, gasoline does expand when it's warm to give you about 2 percent fewer burnable molecules dispensed at 90 degrees than at 60. Canada and Hawaii, for example, have temperature-compensating gas pumps because they've got unusually extreme climates. But for most of us, the difference cancels out across the year as we go from warm to cold seasons. Besides, gas stations don't store their fuel out in the driveway. It lives underground where temperature swings are far less. Number four, turn off your headlights. I'm also ranking this low since daytime running lights and all kinds of new laws have made driving with your lights off almost illegal. Now, yes, headlights do put a little draw on the alternator to recharge the juice that they take from the battery. But by most tests, lights account for a tiny fraction of 1 MPG lost, and with LED lighting proliferating, that's gonna get tinier all the time. Number three, turn off the air-conditioning. This one's real interesting. The idea here is you kill the AC, turn it off to reduce drag on the engine and reclaim up to 3 miles per gallon. That's big. And you roll down the windows, instead. Well, how it works depends. A variety of tests by Consumer Reports, Car and Driver, even the Oak Ridge National Labs have found varying results that change by the speed you're driving and the model of car. Bottom-line here is a rule of thumb -- Windows down when you're around town, air-conditioning and windows up when you're on the freeway. Number two, shut off your car at a red light. Yes, it does save fuel which is why carmakers are installing automatic start/stop systems. But if you do this manually on a car that doesn't have that technology, you're gonna wear out your starter right quick and that's gonna cost you more than all the gas you'll save. Also, many modern cars sense when they're stopped, in drive, and the service brake is depressed and they go into a low fuel flow mode anyway. Number one has to be diesels are more economical. I'm not saying they aren't. Strictly speaking, yes, a diesel gets more out of a droplet of dinosaur grease, but you have to pencil in a couple other factors. The higher cost of low-sulfur diesel in the US, it averages several tens of cents more than gasoline and the typical premium you pay to buy a diesel powertrain car. The long-term savings are likely there, but don't expect more lunch money in week one or even year one. By the way, one more thing, you really wanna save some gas? Get the junk off your roof and out of your trunk. Carmakers spend millions to improve their aerodynamics or even cut 40 pounds off a car's weight. Then, what do you do? You go and leave 80 pounds of crap in the trunk for no reason and leave that kayak rack on the roof all year. There's an improvement that's low-hanging fruit. Stay on top of all the latest trends of modern driving at cnetoncars.com. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching.