Edmunds.com Pumps the Truth into Four Myths Associated with Rising Fuel Costs

Edmunds.com Pumps the Truth into Four Myths Associated with Rising Fuel Costs

Edmunds.com Pumps the Truth into Four Myths Associated with Rising Fuel Costs

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 4, 2011 — As gas prices threaten to tick past $4 per gallon, Edmunds.com, the premier online source for automotive information, debunks popular gas price myths and offers some reasonable steps every driver can take to ease the pain at the pump in a new report at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/three-gas-price-myths.html.

"People can't avoid taking note of rising gas prices and that generates a lot of stress, both in thinking about the expense and in considering options to manage the situation," says Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor Phil Reed. "But with all financial decisions, it's important to keep a level head to sidestep the misconceptions that may cost you even more money in the long run."

The gas price myths debunked by Edmunds.com include:

  • Rising gas prices are forcing families into bankruptcy. Edmunds.com looked at a hypothetical household earning $50,000 a year with two cars: an around-town hauler (larger SUV) and a commuter car for getting to and from work (a smaller more fuel-efficient vehicle). At $3.00 per gallon, annual fuel costs for this household comes to about 7 percent of the total household income, or about $3,500. At $4.00 a gallon, that proportion moves up only slightly to 9 percent of the household income, or about $4,500. "In short," says Reed, "if this family were to go bankrupt, steep gas prices would not be the main reason."
  • Trading in an SUV for a hybrid will save a lot of money. This is a knee-jerk reaction that often proves to be a financial misstep. Say that your SUV has a $10,000 trade-in value while your new hybrid costs $25,000. It could take over 8 years to make up the $15,000 balance in gas savings. Of course, every situation is unique, so Edmunds.com offers a Gas-Guzzler Trade-In calculator at http://www.edmunds.com/calculators/gas-guzzler.html to help you better understand whether trading in for a more fuel-efficient new car makes sense.
  • If 25 mpg is good, 50 mpg is twice as good. Comparing miles per gallon (mpg) measurements alone doesn't always show a clear picture of how much fuel you actually save. Assume three cars of different fuel efficiencies travel 100 miles: the 12.5 mpg car uses eight gallons of fuel, the 25 mpg car uses four gallons of fuel and the 50 mpg car uses two gallons. So switching from the 12.5 mpg car to the 25 mpg car saves four gallons of fuel, but switching from the 25 mpg car to the 50 mpg car saves only two gallons of fuel for that 100-mile trip. Therefore, it makes more sense to trade a car with low fuel efficiency for a car with moderate fuel efficiency than it does to trade a car with moderate efficiency for a car with high fuel efficiency.
  • Buying gas in the early morning will save you money. It is true that colder gasoline is denser and expands as temperatures rise. So, in theory, you would get more energy-dense gasoline in the morning than you would in the afternoon. But since gas is stored in well-insulated underground fuel tanks, its temperature isn't affected by the time of day.

Edmunds.com reports that drivers can maximize their fuel-related savings by keeping better records of fuel consumption and automotive costs, toning down aggressive driving behavior and using the car's cruise control features. Learn more about these and other money-saving tips in "Survival Strategies for Steeper Gas Prices" at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/survival-strategies-for-steeper-gas-prices.html.

Some drivers can even save money by simply downgrading from premium to regular gasoline, with no negative impact on the car's health. To find out if your car can make the switch, visit Edmunds.com at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/to-save-money-on-gas-stop-buying-premium.html.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)

Edmunds publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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