Fuel Saving Myths that Grandpa Taught Us.

by Grande Tomas | Published on July 5, 2022

Everyone loves a good myth. Busting them can be even more exciting than believing in them. They even have a show on TV dedicated to putting an end to our favorite ones.  Unfortunately, the fuel-saving myths that Grandpa or our gear head family members taught us may not be true.

When it comes to cars and transportation there are endless tips, advice, and myths out there aimed at saving money on gas at the pump. There are also numerous claims on ways to improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

Some people believe that you can improve your mileage by driving slower, while others think that idling your engine will save gas. We are going to take a look at some of the internet’s most popular legends and see if we can shed some light on their inaccuracies.

1. Speeding is overrated

The first fuel saving myth has to do with driving fast.  Does anybody out there want to go fast?  I probably should have listed this one last so that I don’t lose my lead-footed audience, but here we go. The first and most important thing to realize is that ideally, you want to maintain the highest LEGAL speed while maintaining the lowest RPMs. This is why cruise control can be your best friend when driving on those long stretches between stops.

Don’t drive like a lunatic.

This is the type of driving that burns fuel. Weaving in and out of traffic. Speeding up to the group of cars in front only to have to slow down till you can get around only uses more fuel. All the speeding up and slowing down decreases your engine’s fuel efficiency. Even if you think it looks cool it only puts you at more risk for accidents and getting stopped by your local law enforcement.

The best way to travel is to get up to speed as quickly as possible and keep a steady pace.

2. The shortest route may not be the best

This one is counter-intuitive but may actually be one of the best ways to save money on your daily commute. First off you must have options when planning your route to your destination. If there is only one way then you are at the mercy of the traffic gods.

If you do have a choice taking the longer route could be better if it provides you with longer uninterrupted stretches and a higher traveling speed. Taking the “city” route that may be more direct also may come with frequent stops. Stopping means idling and also accelerating. Both of these actions increase fuel consumption.

So next time you are planning a trip across town it may be time to take the scenic route and cruise to victory. Saving money always feels like a win to me.

3. Coasting in neutral saves fuel.

I am guilty of falling for this fuel saving myth. Driving to and from college in my 1986 Jeep Cherokee afforded me plenty of opportunities to test this out. Driving through the midwest I would regularly put my Jeep into neutral on long downhills thinking I was saving tons of money. Although this may have worked slightly with older cars, modern technology has made this choice more or less pointless.

Guess What? Our cars have gotten really smart.

With all of today’s computer control and software improvements, carmakers have recognized that there is no need to waste fuel while coasting, so they will actually turn off the injectors and allow the gearing and momentum of the vehicle to keep the engine turning until you strike the gas pedal. The injectors will open again and you will have power when you need it. When you coast in neutral, the engine is disconnected from the transmission. The engine needs to run the injectors to keep the idle RPM going.

4. Premium doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality fuel

When I was in high school I worked at a dealership in Pittsburgh Pa. Annette Ganassi would always advise her new buyers to use the appropriate octane in their cars. Putting the most expensive gas in your car isn’t always the best decision. Some cars will ultimately run into maintenance issues when using too high of a rating. Read your manual and talk to your service department.

Most vehicles have a tag or sticker advising on the proper octane rating.

Simply put, the higher octane content of fuel indicates that it is more resistant to ignition than a lower number. It has nothing to do with how “good” the fuel is; it’s all about whether or not your engine can handle high compression and timing.

Yes, a vehicle that was built to take it can produce more power with higher octane gasoline, but this is only if the car was specifically constructed for it. It’s simply a waste of money to fill a car with higher octane fuel when it doesn’t recommend it.

Instead, it’s not a bad idea to pay a little extra for fuel from a firm that adds detergents to their gasoline to help clean carbon build-up and deposits on rare occasions. These detergents are effective, and the few extra cents per gallon are worth it.

5. Should you accelerate slowly? The answer may surprise you.

The fuel-saving myth that you may enhance your mileage by driving slower is the first one. The argument goes that it takes more petrol to accelerate than to maintain a certain speed, therefore you should go slow. While this may be true, the fuel-efficiency improvements are so minor that they aren’t worth losing time over.

A best practice is to get up to speed as quickly as possible and put on the highest appropriate gear before coasting along, giving little throttle input to maintain speed. Maintaining a slow pace allows for more time on the throttle getting up to speed and less time merely providing enough to stay going, when your engine is at its most efficient in terms of


6. You should warm up your engine before driving.

Sorry, Grandpa but this isn’t true, at least not when it comes to saving on fuel.

Let me be clear on this. Warming your car up before getting into a cold/hot car by pre-heating or turning on the A/C is not what we are talking about. If you live in the cold or the blazing heat, I have done both, then by all means. Fire up that engine and get your car comfortable.

We are talking about the age-old advice that it’s best to get the engine warm before taking off on your journey. Not only does this waste fuel, but it isn’t necessary. What warms your car up best? Driving.

Now don’t get in your car and take off like a Dale Earnhart. Take it easy and the engine will get up to temperature faster and under its usual driving conditions. This is the ideal way. It’s also worth noting that modern cars require a richer fuel mixture while warming up anyway, so the sooner your engine reaches operating temperature, the more efficient it will be running. So letting your engine idle is time wasted that you could use to get to your destination.

In Conclusion

We’ve looked at a lot of fuel saving myths about gas and how to save money on it. Some of them are true, but most of them are false. The best way to save money on gas is to use less of it. There are a few ways that you can save money on gas. You can drive less, carpool with friends or family, or take public transportation. Alternatively, you can also make your car more fuel-efficient by keeping it in good condition and making sure your tires are properly inflated. Whatever you do, don’t listen to all of the so-called “experts” out there who claim to know everything about saving money on gas. Most likely, they’re just blowing smoke.

The moral of the story is to get in your car and drive. Your wallet will thank you in the long run. Until next time, keep your myths to yourself.

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Have a Great Day! 🙂

Did you find this blog post helpful?   Be sure to check out our other blog posts for more great tips and advice. Thanks for reading!

Check out this article specifically about the Electrical Tape and Odometer Scam.



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