AAA of Arizona debunks gas-saving myths

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With gas prices at a 3.5 year high, pump prices are starting to pack a punch to motorists. With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, drivers want to do everything they can to make the most out of each fill-up.

The problem is, many gas-saving tips out there are more fiction than fact. AAA’s fuel expert helps drivers outsmart fuel savings myths before the summer travel season begins.

Claim #1: Gasoline additives give you more MPGs


  • There is a variety of products on the market that promise to send your fuel economy soaring.
  • Even if these products were to nudge your fuel efficiency higher, which is highly unlikely, the products often cost more than a gallon of gas itself.

What does work:

  • Additives aren’t the answer, but a well-maintained vehicle is. Change oil, replace filters, keep your tires properly inflated, and top off fluids as recommended by your car’s manufacturer to maximize your vehicle’s efficiency.
  • Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you!

Claim #2: Turn off the AC to make your fuel last longer.


  • The thinking behind this is that it takes more energy to run the AC, thereby burning more gas.
  • This claim has been tested and the conclusion is that modern air conditioners are efficient and don’t cause a substantial drain on efficiency. 
  • Plus, it’s too hot to drive in Arizona without AC!

What does work:

  • Lighten your load.
  • Every 100 pounds of cargo reduces fuel economy by up to 1 percent, so remove unnecessary items from the trunk and elsewhere. 
  • Rooftop cargo boxes create a mileage drag by making your vehicle less aerodynamic; remove them when they’re not in use.

Claim #3: “Pump” up your fuel economy by over-inflating tires


  • If under-inflated tires reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy, it only makes sense that over-inflating them should give you a boost, right? Wrong. This claim has not only been proven false, but dangerous.
  • Over-inflating your tires can adversely impact your vehicle’s handling and braking.
  • This causes your tires to wear out faster, which is more expensive than anything you could save on gas.

What does work:

  • Driving mindfully. 
  • Avoid sudden stops and starts, both of which lower fuel efficiency. 
  • On a road trip, use cruise control to minimize accelerations and decelerations.
  • Reducing your highway speed by 5 to 10 mph can boost fuel economy anywhere from 7 to 14 percent.

Claim #4: Premium fuel delivers premium fuel economy.


  • Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle.
  • What they don’t realize is premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality.
  • There isn’t a benefit to giving your vehicle a higher octane gas than what the owner’s manual recommends.

What does work:

  • Drivers looking to upgrade to a higher quality fuel for their vehicle should save their money and select a TOP TIER gasoline. 
  • AAA research has found that using a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards increase vehicle performance and improve fuel economy.

For more information on these and other fuel efficiency tips, visit And don’t forget to download the AAA Mobile app to find the lowest fuel prices near you.

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