With the national average gas price at a six-month high, we’re all looking for fuel savings where we can get them — and that might not be where we expect.
Below, find five moves you might assume will bring down your gas bill … but actually won’t.
1. Driving A Small Car
No one’s arguing that a small sedan doesn’t make you an amazing parallel parker, but it’s not necessarily getting that money-saving mileage you’ve heard so much about. MarketWatch reports that thanks to constantly evolving automotive technologies, around half of the most fuel-efficient 2014 vehicles (excluding electric models) are midsize or large cars and wagons.
2. Ditching Your Older Car
You may have heard that as vehicles age, you get fewer miles on the gallon, but that isn’t the case. Unless you’ve already done your research and are springing for a more efficient model, a new car won’t necessarily get better gas mileage than one that’s 10, or even 15, years old. As long as your car is being maintained appropriately (yes, you do have to get the oil changed), it should be just as efficient as it ever was.
3. Using Premium Gas
You may think that the good stuff will get you more miles per gallon, and buy you more bang for your buck. But when it comes to fueling your car, you shouldn’t be looking for quality over quantity. Unless it’s specifically recommended in your owner’s manual, premium gas won’t give you any kind of MPG boost.
4. Skirting Off-Brand Gas Stations
There’s no need to be wary of spending your cash at an unfamiliar gas station (think New Jersey’s Delta) instead of the Mobil on every other corner. Much like generic anything else, all gasoline must meet the same legal requirements.
5. Hitting The Highway
If you want to save gas (and money), you’re better off on the local roads. A 2013 study found that increasing your speed from 50 mph to 60 mph caused more than a 12% drop in miles per gallon, getting only less efficient as you go faster. If that stat doesn’t have an impact, consider this: Fast drivers pay up to another $US1 at the gas station.
Ultimately, the fuel efficiency of your car comes down to the model — and it’s up to you to figure that out before you sign on the dotted line. It only takes a few minutes: You can check the efficiency of your model at fueleconomy.gov, and even calculate your miles per gallon and compare it against other drivers.