With fuel prices currently orbiting Saturn, it’s understandable that some financial controllers might be looking for solutions to their financial woes in unlikely places. Sadly, ‘insider’ tips on fuel-saving are more often safety-compromising half-truths than actual, scientific fact. Here, we give common fuel saving myths a proper dressing down.

View the PDF version of this Infographic: Fuel Saving Myths Debunked.

View the PDF version of this infographic Fuel Saving Myths Debunked.

“Did you know that if you over-inflate your tyres, you can increase the fuel economy of your vehicle?”

Yes, by inflating your tyres over the recommended rate for your vehicle (but not exceeding the maximum allowance) you decrease the amount of rubber making contact with the road. This means less resistance when driving – so hey presto, that’s money in the bank, folks! When US magazine Popular Science put this theory into practice, they did indeed save fuel – a whopping, huge, Godzilla-sized… 0.05 extra miles per gallon.

The over inflation needed to achieve such pathetic savings has a big neon sign above it flashing “Danger!” How safe does seriously compromised handling and a ride that can only be described as ‘filling-loosening’ sound? Exactly. Stick to manufacturer recommendations.

“The smaller the engine, the more economical the car.”

Alas, nothing is ever that simple. Buying a lower-powered version of the same vehicle might make sense on paper but remember that it has to pull a similar weight to the larger engined-version. This means the smaller engine is put under more duress. Ergo its fuel economy can take a real hit.

“Diesel-powered vehicles are without a shadow of a doubt more economical than their petrol equivalents.”

Up to a point. Diesel vehicle sales sky rocketed last year, despite their more expensive price tags and fuel. But some buyers may be disappointed after a little number crunching, according to recent research carried out by Glass’s Guide. For company employees doing over 10,000 miles a year minimum, yes, it makes sense to go with the more pricey diesel. But for companies with small fleets on limited mileages, diesel vehicles often mean money down the drain.

“Turning off the car radio causes less strain on the battery, which means you use less petrol.”

A BP survey revealed that 10% of drivers think that playing, say, a Chris de Burgh CD on the vehicle’s stereo is bad for fuel economy. Said drivers should worry less about such nonsense and worry more about their taste in music.

“Fill up your tank in the morning when the temperature is colder. The fuel is denser so you can cram more in your tank for the same price!”

Like over-inflating your tyres, there is a slither of truth to this. But as petrol stations keep their fuel underground, temperature changes are kept to an absolute minimum. And why go through the hassle of turning up at the forecourt in your pyjamas and slippers to save mere pennies? Better to invest in fuel cards to take the strain.

“Filling your tyres with nitrogen instead of compressed air saves you money on fuel bills.”

Unless you’re Lewis Hamilton trying to avoid an Armco barrier or a pilot about to land a 747, then no, it doesn’t. While the more expensive nitrogen leaks less slowly from tyres than cheaper compressed air (so they don’t lose fuel-economy-boosting pressure as quickly), a company driver need only check their tyre pressures on a regular basis to achieve exactly the same result with compressed air.

“Keeping your vehicle’s air filter clean saves on fuel.”

Actually, filters used in fuel-injected engines are designed to cope with dirt. The only time you should fret is when they become completely clogged up – but by sticking to your vehicle’s servicing schedule, you will never need to worry about the issue.

“Signing up to fuel cards can offer real savings at the pump.”

True! Go to fuelcards.co.uk for bullet-proof evidence. (Not that a vehicle’s fuel tank would automatically explode if it were hit by a bullet, mind; but that’s another myth and one to be covered in a future blog).