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'That's a myth' | Petroleum engineer busts gas mileage myths

"The reality is, there are very few things that you can do to save your pain at the pump," said UH's Chief Energy Officer Ramanan Krishnamoorti.

HOUSTON — As fuel prices continue to rise at gasoline pumps across the country, more people are willing to try anything to stretch their budget, even testing unverified tricks shared on social media. 

“These are desperate times,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, the Chief Energy Officer for the University of Houston. “You don’t want to be hurt at the gas pump each time you go to fill up.”

AAA reports the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is inching closer to $5. Today’s statewide average for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to AAA, is $4.60, up .04 in just 24 hours, and more than $.34 from last week.

“For two years we’ve not been able to do anything because of the pandemic, and now that we can, it hurts,” said Krishnamoorti. “The smarter thing to do is fill up your tires. Make sure the pressure’s right. Drive conservatively. Don’t be a lead foot.”

Krishnamoorti, who is also a UH Professor of Petroleum Engineering is debunking gas-saving myths being spread in a Facebook post. The popular post suggests that filling up your vehicle in the morning is better, because ground temperatures are cooler, making gasoline stored in underground tanks more dense.

“The ground temperature doesn’t change a whole lot,” explained Krishnamoorti. “It changes with seasons. But day and night, it doesn’t change a whole lot.”

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So if you’re wondering if filling up your gas tank in the morning will help your gas mileage, Krishnamoorti said, “that’s a myth. Whether you gas up in the morning or night makes very, very little difference.”

He also said the pressure you place on the nozzle while fueling up, doesn’t impact gas mileage, either.

“Filling it up slowly, fast doesn’t make a whole lot of difference,” said Krishnamoorti. “The reality is, there are very few things that you can do to save your pain at the pump.”

The petroleum expert said modern gas pumps are designed to prevent vaporization.  While the Facebook post suggests you fill up when your vehicle is down to a half-tank of fuel, the UH professor confirmed, that alone will not improve mileage either.

“Good driving habits, not only are they safer, but they will save you gas.”

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