With gasoline prices nearing record levels, many drivers are trying to adopt ways to reduce the amount of gas their car uses. That's a noble goal, but don't fall for some common myths that, in some cases, will end up costing you money.
The average national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $3.04 Wednesday, according to AAA. Crude oil, which closed at $87.34 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, has flirted with the $100-a-barrel mark in recent weeks. That is near the inflation-adjusted highs set in the early 1980s.
Here are 10 gas-saving myths that you should know to make sure you are truly saving money on gas, rather than putting money, time and effort into something that won't work:
1. Products claiming to increase gas mileage: The Federal Trade Commission has tested more than 100 devices that claim to save gas -- some up to 25% -- and found not one that significantly improves gas mileage as claimed. In fact, the FTC found that some may actually damage the car's engine. You can also see the test results of such devices by the Environmental Protection Agency. Consumer Reports has also tested numerous products over the years that make the improved-mileage claim and haven't found any that actually work.2. Turn off the AC: This is the classic debate that will keep people arguing for hours. According to a Consumer Reports test, there is very little difference between driving with your windows down or with the air conditioner on at 65 mph on the highway. Edmunds came to a similar conclusion.
3. Buy gas on Wednesday: The theory is that if you buy gas on Wednesday, prices have come down from the weekend, when many gas stations elevate their prices in hopes of making a bit more profit from more people traveling. While a general rule would be to avoid buying on weekends, there are too many factors that come into play to rely on the Wednesday strategy. You are much better off looking at what gas stations are charging in your area through sites like AAA's fuel price check, GasBuddy or Gas Price Watch to find the best price on a daily basis.