Be wary when trying to save on gas

Products promising to improve gas mileage often scams

Gas prices spiked over the spring, and with the summer right around the corner, drivers are looking for ways to save on gas. The internet and television is littered with advertisments for products promising to improve gas mileage and save you money on gas. However, Better Business Bureau warns you to be wary of any claims of improved gas mileage, especially claims that seem too-good-to-be true.

Consumer Reports offered consumers tips on how to actually save on gas without wasting money on fake products promising better gas mileage. The magazine also busted a few prevalent myths about saving money on gas.

To help ease the strain of high gas prices and save money on gas:

Watch your speed. Not only can you save money by avoiding speeding tickets, but you can improve your gas mileage by driving below the speed limit. A ten MPH drop in speed can improve your mileage by five MPG.

Keep it smooth. Sudden braking and acceleration reduce your gas mileage. Approach turns, stops and obstacles smoothly and you can save money on gas in addition to saving your engine from needless wear and tear.

Unpack your car. Carrying unneccessary weight can bring down your gas mileage significantly. Unless you absolutely need them, remove any racks or other devices from the top of your car. Even empty racks bring down gas mileage.

Put your tailgate up. Some pickup truck drivers think that opening or removing the tailgate will improve their gas mileage, but that is a myth. When the tailgate is up, the bed of the truck creates a “locked vortex flow,” or bubble of air, that improves the aerodynamics of the pickup. Putting the tailgate down bursts that bubble and lowers your gas mileage.

Check your tires. Tires that are worn or underinflated will bring down your car’s gas mileage. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and anytime there is a sudden change in temperature.

Use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Unless your vehicle’s manufacturer specifically recommends using premium fuel, you’re just wasting money on the higher octane. Premium fuel will not increase the performance of most cars.

Don’t idle. Leaving your car in idle for too long wastes gas. Older model cars used a lot of fuel in the ignition process, leading to a prevalent myth that turning the car off burned more fuel than idling. But most cars still on the road today don’t have that failing. You’ll save on your gas mileage if you kill the engine when you plan to be stopped for 30 seconds or more.

Combine errands. If you have several short trips to make, combine them into one excursion. Gas mileage improves once the engine warms up, so letting the car sit for long periods between trips can cost you more money.