Posts Tagged ‘Fuel Economy’

AAA: Not All Gasoline Created Equal

July 7th, 2016 by AAA

ErinSteppTests show quality gasoline keeps engines 19 times cleaner

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 7, 2016) – New testing from AAA has uncovered significant differences in the quality of gasoline sold at fuel retailers in the United States. The independent laboratory testing compared gasolines that meet TOP TIER™ standards often marketed to consumers as having enhanced, engine-cleaning detergent additives with gasoline brands that do not participate in the automaker-backed program. Among brands tested, non-TOP TIER gasolines caused 19 times more engine deposits than TOP TIER brands after just 4,000 miles of simulated driving. Such carbon deposits are known to reduce fuel economy, increase emissions and negatively impact vehicle performance, particularly on newer vehicles. To protect vehicle investments, AAA urges drivers to use a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards for engine cleanliness and performance.

Additional Resources

“AAA was surprised to learn the extent to which detergent additives impact gasoline quality,” revealed John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “As advertised, tested TOP TIER gasolines kept engines remarkably cleaner than other fuels we tested.”

In response to increasing levels of carbon deposits in modern engine designs, the Environmental Protection Agency mandated a minimum level of detergent for all gasoline sold in the United States in 1996. However, some automakers believe the minimum does not go far enough to ensure optimal vehicle performance and their ability to meet increasingly-stringent fuel economy and emissions requirements. The TOP TIER program and performance standard were developed to guarantee that program participants’ gasoline meets stricter targets for engine cleanliness.

“When it comes to selecting a gasoline, automakers got it right – TOP TIER gasoline performs best,” continued Nielsen. “By selecting a quality gasoline, drivers can minimize engine deposits, increase vehicle performance and improve fuel economy.”

Despite the fact that two-thirds of U.S. drivers believe there is a difference in quality of gasoline sold by different gas stations, a AAA survey reveals that Americans value convenience and price over quality when it comes to selecting a gas station.

  • Three-quarters of U.S. drivers choose a gas station based on location (75 percent) or price (73 percent).
  • Nearly one-third (29 percent) of U.S drivers choose a gas station based on a rewards program.
  • Only 12 percent of U.S. drivers select a gas station based on whether the gasoline contains an enhanced detergent package.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of U.S. drivers do not regularly buy gasoline that contains an enhanced detergent additive.
  • Men (44 percent) are more likely than women (26 percent) to regularly buy a gasoline that contains an enhanced detergent package, as are baby boomers (41 percent) compared to millennials (32 percent).

“Americans are six times more likely to choose a gas station based on the price of gasoline rather than the quality of the fuel,” continued Nielsen. “Since TOP TIER gasoline is widely available and only an average of three cents more per gallon, AAA urges drivers to reconsider their priorities when selecting a gas station.”

To ensure a gas station sells a high quality gasoline, consumers should research the fuel options near them. According to TOP TIER, one-third of gas stations meet the TOP TIER standard for fuel quality. Retailers interested in participating in the TOP TIER program can find additional information here.

“Fortunately, consumers can reverse some engine deposits simply by switching gasoline brands,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “After a few thousand miles with TOP TIER gasoline, performance issues like rough idling or hesitation during acceleration can often be resolved.”

For testing purposes, AAA selected TOP TIER and non-TOP TIER gasolines from a southern Texas market that represents the type of gasoline sold across the majority of the United States. To measure intake valve and combustion chamber deposits, AAA engaged the services of an independent International Standards Organization 17025 certified engine testing lab to perform an ASTM International standard test on fuels.

To evaluate consumer gasoline preferences, AAA contracted with a national research company to perform a telephone survey of 1,002 adults (18 years of age and older) living in the continental United States. Survey results are an accurate representation of the total continental U.S. population, 18 years of age and older, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

For additional information about fuel quality, including the full test report and fact sheet, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

From an everyday route to long road trips, easy ways to save money as fuel prices continue to rise  

ORLANDO,Fla., (February 24, 2012) – With gas prices hitting an all-time February high and the current national retail average price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline hanging at $3.70, many drivers are anxious about what to expect in the coming months.

“Every driver is impacted by the increased cost of fuel” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA National Vice President, Automotive, Financial Services and e-Business. “There are several easy things drivers can do to stretch each tank of gas and find the lowest fuel prices when it is time to fill up.”

AAA provides these fuel-saving tips and advice to drivers:   

Properly inflate tires

Only 17 percent of cars have all four tires properly inflated, yet the U.S. Department of Energy reports that proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy by up to three percent. It’s important not only to check tire pressures at least once a month, but also make sure it’s done correctly; a survey found 85 percent of motorists don’t know how to properly check tire pressures. Check the pressures when the tires are cold and have not been driven recently. Tires should be inflated to levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not the pressure levels stamped on the tire sidewall. The proper pressure levels can be found on a sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or in the owner’s manual.

Be gentle on the gas and brake pedals

One of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve fuel is to change driving styles. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, gently accelerate rather than making a quick start. The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

Let AAA find lowest gas prices

AAA’s smartphone app AAA Mobile provides motorists with the most current and accurate gas price data available, by drawing on credit card transactions at more than 100,000 stations nationwide. Drivers  can find the lowest gas prices close to home or on the road. The AAA app’s GPS technology enables users to quickly locate stations on a map and see the price for all available grades of gasoline. Visit AAA.com/Mobile.

Drive the speed limit

Slowing down to observe the speed limit is safer and can conserve fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid feeling rushed so you can arrive safely and with a little more fuel in the tank.

Plan errands in advance

When running errands, try to combine multiple tasks into one trip. Several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Also, plan the route in advance to drive the fewest miles. Online mapping tools such as AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner are available to help plan routes and are free to  all motorists at AAA.com.

Lighten the load

A heavier vehicle uses more fuel. Lighten your vehicle by cleaning out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. Also try to avoid using a car’s roof rack to transport luggage or other equipment—especially over long distances on the highway. A loaded roof rack affects the vehicle aerodynamics and creates extra drag that reduces fuel economy.

Stretch your gas money

Members who pay for gasoline with their AAA Member Rewards Visa® credit card receive double points on gas purchases.  Members also receive one point for every dollar they spend, triple points on AAA and all travel purchases and double points on gas, grocery and drug store purchases.  Members can redeem points for cash, travel or gift cards.  The card may not be available in all areas.  Members can apply for the AAA Member Rewards Visa® credit card at AAA.com/creditcard.   

Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance

Keeping a car running properly helps achieve maximum fuel economy. Be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and do not ignore vehicle warning lights that indicate something is wrong. Warning lights can signal problems that will greatly decrease a car’s fuel efficiency. To help motorists find reliable, high-quality vehicle service, AAA has inspected and approved nearly 8,000 auto repair shops across the country. To locate a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair shop, visit AAA.com/repair.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., January 10, 2006

“I am pleased to join Administrator Johnson today to commend the work he and his agency are doing to revamp the system by which EPA calculates fuel economy estimates that appear on the window stickers of new vehicles.

From AAA’s perspective, it’s about one simple truth. Consumers want to know that the information they see on a government-sanctioned label reasonably reflects what they will experience on the road. The Administrator and I are here today to say that we can do a better job to achieve that objective, and we can do it without creating an entirely new testing system. We have time to discuss the details during the official comment period, but EPA’s release of this proposal is a very important step in the right direction – one AAA has called for in the past.

Purchasing a new vehicle is an expensive investment that consumers take very personally and make with great care. Many factors contribute to the decision, including vehicle fuel economy, which is becoming more important as consumers experience increasing fuel prices.

Fuel economy labeling is an inexact science, but that’s no excuse to remain tied to a rating system that pre-dates the powerful vehicles and travel patterns we see on our roads today – larger vehicles, traveling at faster speeds, and often packed to the brim.

Last year AAA joined forces with leaders in Congress to make the case that fuel economy ratings were inaccurate, and therefore, misleading. As fuel prices soared upward, consumers became very aware of the disparity between the EPA sticker rating and what they were seeing on the road. And, it’s no wonder why. The testing procedures were first devised in the 1970’s. 

Today’s proposal to revamp the process demonstrates a willingness on the part of EPA to try a new approach – one that will lead to more accurate information for consumers. 

Some may be wary of change, fearing manufacturers would be required to create new and costly testing procedures to improve the accuracy of fuel economy labeling. However, EPA already has a test, known as the US06, which is being used for emissions certification purposes that AAA believed also produced more accurate fuel economy ratings. But, the information from this test is not used for new car MPG labels. To confirm our belief, we commissioned a rigorous study by the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, which put some of the most popular vehicles on the road today through the US06 test and compared the results to what drivers experience everyday. Their findings demonstrate that EPA’s US06 test does indeed provide more accurate information than what is currently on new car labels. The Automotive Research Center’s data supports the direction the EPA Administrator is announcing today. Before I get into the specifics of this research, let me make three key points that summarize AAA’s goals:

  • Fuel economy labeling is about truth-in-advertising. It’s about giving consumers the most accurate information possible so that they can make informed decisions when they purchase new vehicles.
  • The research and analysis conducted by the Automotive Research Center confirms that at least one existing test, the USO6, comes closer to reflecting real-world driving conditions.
  • This research also demonstrates that the way a person drives a vehicle can strongly impact the mileage they are likely to get when they’re out on the road. Clearly, consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to achieving the best mileage possible from their vehicles.

Let me briefly summarize the testing and analysis done by the Automotive Research Center.

The Automobile Club of Southern California operates a state-of-the-art emissions and vehicle test laboratory in Diamond Bar, California.  Steve Mazor, who manages the Automotive Research Center, is here with us today. Mr. Mazor and his technicians identified 18 models that reflected vehicles popular on the road today: small and large passenger cars, pickup trucks, small and large SUVs, and hybrids. At least one of each model was tested in the laboratory itself. A total of 41 vehicles were tested either in the laboratory or on the road.

The goal of the testing was to objectively measure the accuracy of the information now on the labels and determine if the US06 test provided MPG ratings that more closely mirror real-world driving conditions.

This is what we found:

  • The current system of city/highway measurements significantly overestimates real-world miles per gallon. The current system of fuel economy labeling is based on two tests: one measuring city driving; one measuring highway driving. That’s what you see on the window sticker. There is also a combined EPA rating not found on the window sticker. The tests performed by the Auto Club’s Auto Research Center confirm that the city/highway tests are inaccurate.
  • The results show that 90 percent (36 of the total 41 vehicles tested) experience worse results than the current EPA estimate. The average deviation from EPA ratings was 4 miles per gallon and some were off by as much as 19 miles per gallon.
  • The newer US06 test, currently used for emissions certification purposes, but not for labeling purposes, does a better job of estimating real-world MPG.

In conclusion, the Auto Club’s research confirms the problem and supports the premise that EPA is on the right track by looking to newer testing procedures to improve information on the window sticker. AAA firmly believes that getting the best information to consumers is just good public policy.”

Podcasts

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.