True or False: Synthetic Oil Improves Gas Mileage

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has had a lot of major effects on the world, and something many Americans are feeling right now is the high gas prices. As a result, many Americans are looking for ways to improve their car’s fuel economy so that they can get the most miles for their buck. One way that drivers might be thinking about is using synthetic oil, and here’s a look at whether synthetic oil will actually improve your car’s gas mileage.

Common myths about switching to synthetic oil

An oil change being performed on a truck in Oaxaca, Mexico
An oil change | Dana Romanoff/Getty Images

Synthetic oil is relatively new, and it has a lot of misconceptions. For example, a common myth that’s prevented drivers from switching to synthetic oil is the idea that they will need to modify their car in some way to use synthetic oil. This is, of course, false. No modifications are necessary, though drivers will still need to use synthetic oil of a similar grade as before.

On top of that, there are a lot of false fears regarding synthetic oil. Some people think that it will eat away at a car’s pipes, which might cause leaks. This is not true, and any leaks that happened likely happened before someone started using synthetic oil. Another myth is that some people believe that if you go synthetic, you can’t go back. This is also not true, as you can switch between synthetic and conventional, and many drivers do this.

Another common myth is that cars need to be “broken in” before they can use synthetic. This is, once again, simply not true, as synthetic oil is so good that many automakers usually ship cars with it already in the pipes. 

Does synthetic oil improve your gas mileage?

In short, no, it doesn’t improve your gas mileage. In terms of gas mileage, both types of oil are acceptable. What is happening has to do with how clean an engine is, according to KCEN News. Both types of oil will keep your engine clean and running at its best fuel economy.

However, since synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils do, someone who doesn’t change their oil regularly might end up with better fuel mileage when using synthetic oil compared to conventional. This is simply because synthetic oil keeps their engine clean for longer. However, if someone is changing their oil regularly, there is no real difference in fuel economy.

Here’s how you can improve your car’s gas mileage

There are easy ways to get more fuel mileage out of your car than rumors about synthetic oil. According to Geico, routine maintenance to ensure that your car’s oil is good is essential, but so is keeping your tires inflated properly. When your tires have the proper tire pressure, they can reduce your car’s drag. With less drag, your car’s engine will have to work less and burn less fuel. 

Driving safely is also an excellent idea for two reasons. First, folks want to be safe in their car, but secondly, it also improves your fuel economy. Cars need more fuel to drive fast, and aggressive braking can also burn extra fuel. Cruising at a safe speed can massively improve your fuel economy, especially on highways. 

Another option is to lower your car’s weight. This is easier for some vehicles than others, as some vehicles have excess weight that can be easily removed. Geico wrote that the general rule of thumb is that extra weight will increase your car’s fuel consumption by 1% for every 100 pounds.

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