Ford Takes On Fuel Economy Myths from Fans

By Sean J.

Nobody likes paying for gas, especially when prices in the U.S. are hovering around the $4-per-gallon mark. So we asked our Facebook fans how they squeeze the most gas out of their tanks. Our fans loved swapping tips and tricks with one another. But among those responses were a few suggestions that raised an eyebrow or two. So we decided to ask the experts at here at Ford if they were fact or fiction.

Has a fuel-efficient Ford helped you save some cash at the pump? Tell us about it by sharing your story!

We took your fuel economy myths to Kevin Layden, a 27-year veteran of Ford, who is in charge of leading the Electrification Programs and Engineering. In addition to knowing a thing or two about battery-electric vehicles, he’s a resident expert on fuel economy.

You can catch the entire interview in the video above, or click on the links below to jump right to a myth that interests you.

True or False:

Filling up slowly creates fewer air bubbles and increases the amount of fuel in your tank Makes sense, right? More air in the tank means less liquid. But will Kevin’s response burst this myth’s bubble?

Filling up in the morning, or in cold temperatures, will improve your fuel economy – Anyone who took high-school chemistry knows that the colder something is, the more density it has. So will colder gas help you “go further” on a tank, or is this a cold case?

Using midgrade or premium vs. regular unleaded improves fuel economy – Sometimes you get what you pay for. Does cheaper gas mean less bang for the buck, or are you pumping cash into your tank for no good reason?

Using your air conditioner reduces your fuel economy – Does blasting the air conditioning when it’s hot mean you’ll be filling up your tank more often? Or, can you keep your cool and your cash?

Underinflated tires will decrease your fuel economy Everyone knows that keeping your tires inflated to the recommended pressure is just common sense for safety. But does it impact your fuel economy too?

With an Automatic Transmission, putting your vehicle in neutral while stopped in traffic will improve your fuel economy Getting stuck in traffic wastes millions of gallons of gas per year. Could simply putting your vehicle in neutral at complete stops save fuel?

Sudden braking and quick acceleration can reduce your fuel economy – Could the way you drive have a big impact on your mpg?

It is recommended that you warm up your engine when in cold weather – Is letting your car warm up a tradition that is still necessary, or has modern technology made this an outdated notion?

These are just a few of the myths that our fans suggested and there are many, many more. Do you have a fuel economy theory that you would like the experts at Ford to put to the test? Leave a comment below and we could include it in a future video!
Chris 09/14/2013
Matt K: note well that fuel despensed from gas stations is stored underground where the fuel is not subject to daily fluctuations in temprature. And the fuel is pumped from the underground storage tanks so rapidly it has little if any time to warm before being dispensed. Therefore the fuel would expand little until well after it is in your tank Don't believe me? Just feel the metal parts of the nozzle while you're filling your tank, notice how cool they feel from the relatively cool conditions underground.
Gene 08/01/2013
It would be nice to be able to retrofit start-stop and cylinder deactivization to existing vehicles where that technology was not available, or maybe not even invented yet...
Matt K 08/01/2013
The first few questions do not refer to fuel economy like mpg, but rather economy of fuel, as in from the pump. Cooler fuel is more dense, so you will get slightly more fuel into the tank for the same measured flow. As far as bubbles go, they could offer some resistance to flow, but as long as there are no air bubbles measured as fuel coming 'out' of the pump, there should be no measurable difference. As far as windows down vs AC, that primarilly depends upon the vehicle. The largest factor is aerodynamics. I you're driving a full-size van shaped like a brick, having the windows down won't cause noticeable aerodynamic drag relative to the overall coefficient of drag. Speed is another factor. If you're driving 55, windows down won't be a significant difference relative to the drag generated at that speed. So for most vehicles driving at 80 mph, AC is more economical to operate than having windows down. But if the weather is nice enough where you don't need either- and just the fan blowing will do- then that's a win-win.
Larry 08/01/2013
Looking forward to continuing the Ford tradition with an Ecosport AT...drove a Mondeo and an Explorer earlier...enjoyed both and got great service...they're still going strong but with different owners now!
rebecca 07/31/2013
I do all of the things stated in this article. Good presentation.
marty 07/31/2013
I have a 2010 (mine) and a 2012 Fusion (wife's). These are great cars for the $$$$.
Jon 07/31/2013
I'm not a fan of ethanol blended gas at all. I've had too much bad luck with the stuff. I use premium in my 2011 fiesta without ethanol. There is less energy,(BTU's), in blended fuels. My MPG is great, 42 suburban driving even higher highway driving.
Joe Z 07/31/2013
Aftersome small hiccups with Ford Fusion Hybrid, we are very happy! You must “learn” HOW, to accelerate up tospeed , then “relax” the accelerator to use stored battery power. We are getting an average of 50 to 54 MPG of NON-highway driving. On a recent HIGHWAY trip of 185 miles, keeping the car at60 MPH , we got 59MPG!! Comfortable, Good Looking car , with greatperformance – but you MUST “learn” how to achieve these results. Joe Z – Guilford, CT
Stephen F 07/31/2013
How about making available a simpler car with crank windows, manual locks and having air as an option? As the video indicates all power used ultimately comes from the fuel. Thanks, but I am quite comfortable cranking my own windows and locking my doors without the need for electro-mechanical actuators. These are fuel saving measures. Sadly though, these conveniences are profitable, if not mandatory as such "diy" cars do not sell. Just saying it would be nice to have the option of purchasing a very well made, yet "manual" car - one not destined to be an entry-level class disposable vehicle.
Please bring the Ford Fusion Wagon to us!
Charles J 07/29/2013
Electric is the way of the future!
Jeff 07/27/2013
I currently have a 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid and a 2013 Mustang. The Fusion is great on mileage, but I would like to have the option in the future to get a Fusion Diesel. I commute 64 miles each day so will need another car in the future. The Hybrid would be better if I did not have so many freeway miles to drive, as it gets even better mileage in stop and go traffic. The car is a great ride as a commuter, which is why I want a diesel varient. I was stationed in Naples Italy and have driven modern diesels and having that option would be great. 
Joshua M 07/27/2013
cool fossial fuel is neat.i like science..
Scott 07/27/2013
I wanted to buy Ford, especially after driving a Ford Galaxy in Europe. 32 mpg in a van. But Ford does not offer one in the US why the heck not? So no ford for me.....
Rob F 07/27/2013
Love my 2010 Fusion hybrid !
Diane 07/26/2013
Regarding using the air-conditioner, I heard (or read someplace) that having your windows down reduces fuel economy as much as, or more than, using the air-conditioner. This is said to be from the drag created from the wind coming into the car and pushing against the back window. I would definitely like to know if this is true, and the reasons it is, or is not.
Karen G 07/25/2013
I bought a Fusion for one of my grandsons, and a Focus for another. They appreciate the gas mileage. But as for me, I have an assortment of Ford muscle, including a 2010 Shelby, and my "driver" is a 2009 F-150. I really don't care what gas mileage they get, as long as I can buy the gas. I'm old enough to remember the long gas lines of years gone by...
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