Stretching Your Dollars at the Pump

Stretching Your Dollars at the Pump
By: Arnold Wyrick
Carbondale, IL - Gas prices in Southern Illinois continue to loom around the $3 a gallon mark. And with no relief in sight some drivers are seeking out fuel saving remedies.
Many car care companies are offering fuel additives, with promises of a cleaner engine, and better gas mileage.
"If there's an additive package available the refineries would probably add it to their tank mix before it even sold the fuel. The additives you see today, except for some of the detergent additives, really they're not a big advantage," says SIU's Director of Automotive Technology Jack Greer.
Still some drivers are willing to add anything to their tanks, hoping for more miles on the road.
"I'd use them. I think they'd probably be a good idea. I hope I'd get better gas mileage," says Karen Duncan of Anna, Illinois.
But as the saying goes, "If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true."
"I think there are some fuel additives that help cut down on the buildup in the engine. A lot of it though is not helpful. It's just snake oil. It's just something for somebody to sell and make money," says Mike Starling Service Manager at Vogler Ford in Carbondale.
So what can we do to get more bang for our buck at the pump, you may be asking?
"Switching to a higher octane fuel then what your vehicle manufacturer recommends isn't what you should do. Actually the higher the octane the less BTU content in the fuel. Meaning the higher the octane the less energy the fuel has in it," Greer said.
Which takes us back to how can we stretch more miles out of a tank of gas?
"I can just imagine that a lot of people would want to spend money on some little miracle in a can. They need to make sure their car is well tuned. That their tire pressures are good, the air filter is clean. That's where they're going to save their money on their fuel economy," Starling said.