Burning Fuel



    When you take a look at car manufacturer information about the fuel consumption (or economy) they claim, you’ll see that you live in an era of extremely efficient cars. If you make the calculations for yourself, you’ll see that is not so.

    The internal combustion engine (gas and diesel engines) have a design that is more that one hundred years old, and what is being improved throughout the time is the efficiency of operation, but the concept is still outdated. A gas or diesel engine uses about 30 percent of the fuel it consumes…the rest is lost mostly in heat.

    Looking at the information sheets in windows of new cars you’ll see mileages of 18 to 25; 25 to 31, etc. But a simple procedure will tell you how much fuel you are really burning in your daily errands.

    Next time you fill up the tank, do it until the nozzle jump off by itself, then set the partial odometer to zero and drive as you usually do. When the time comes to fill up the tank again, do it also until the nozzle jump off by itself, write down the mileage in the partial odometer and divide that number by the amount of gallons shown in the receipt. You’ll be surprised by the numbers.

    With this little test you’ll be able to discover several things:

    -The real mileage your vehicle is giving you

    -Which brands of fuel gives you the best mileage (there is difference!)

    -Which driving habits give you better mileage

    -Early detection of mechanical and electrical problems in your engine by the drop in mileage (if you keep doing this every time you fill up the tank)

    From what I’ve seen, sport utilities and pick up trucks usually give around 14-18 MPG, while a four cylinder car will be in the 20-27 MPG margin, which is a 50% more miles per gallon.

    If you drive an average of 1000 miles a month (which is normal for most people), and switch from a sport utility vehicle to a four cylinder car, you will save around 20 gallons of fuel a month, which in turns, could be a saving of 50 dollars a month, or 600 dollars a year!

    If we multiply this savings in gallons of fuel by the number of cars in the US, we could see that several tankers can get lost in their way here. The amount of pollution can be greatly reduced, and even the streets will become instantly “wider” by the use of smaller cars. All on top of personal savings for everyone driving a car  :)


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10 Responses to Burning Fuel

  1. Joshua Noerr says:

    I was stunned when I did the calculations for my car. Really, I think the “estimated mileage rating” is based on a perfect world with perfect driving conditions.

    I have yet to find those conditions or that world!

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Joshua,

    In today’s competitive market, car manufacturers use mostly “lab” conditions to calculate the fuel consumption of their vehicles (and the power output in HP), so to be in a better place in relation to their competition. Some people believe their numbers as true, while other people want to believe them…but that’s another story :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Burning Fuel

  2. Raul,

    You know you sound like Zenguy? He has his way of calculating fuel and mileage in his hybrid car. He has a small notebook and particular way he enters his information and calculates his avg mileage and gas etc. I am far too lazy and eyeball the mileage but I can see benefits of calculating such a thing!

    What I like about you Raul, is your write about things that are so unique and interesting! I am not doing blogging as much lately but I am happy to pop here and read what you have said here.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post ..Car-Free or Car Owner – Finding A Happy Middle Ground

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Preeti,

    I guess calculating this sort of things is mostly a “guy” thing. It is nice to see that Zenguy is always keeping an eye in his car mileage; that’s a great way to contribute to a cleaner air while saving money in everyday expenses.

    Thank you for your kind comments; and don’t worry about going slow with blogging; after all it is a personal thing, and we will be waiting for your next post for as long as it takes :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Burning Fuel

  3. You know, I still don’t understand why we can’t get 50 mpg like the Geo Metro did. I hear it’s because of emissions or safety or some such nonsense. I don’t really believe all that, and I’m sure there is more to it that we’re not privy to.
    Eric | Eden Journal´s last post ..Do you think you’re a weed when you’re actually a flower

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Eric,

    Perhaps the best example of that right now is the Smart Car. In Europe is a simple car with very little to go wrong and easy to fix, at the same time it gives a great gas mileage and the cost to buy is also low. Here in the States, because of government regulations concerning safety in new cars, it has ABS, Traction Control, Stability Control, etc, etc. The result is a complicated car that has lots of extra weight and complications that reduce the gas mileage and make it expensive to buy and repair. When those little Smart Cars start to fail in a couple of years, you’ll see many of them for sale pretty cheap, since the cost of repairs will be very high.

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Burning Fuel

  4. Sara says:

    Raul — This is a very HELPFUL post for me. I have an old Passat and I’ve been concerned about the gas mileage as well as possible electrical issues. It’s been to shop numerous time and each time I’m told it’s fine.

    I will give you ideas a try to see if I actually have reached the point with this car that I wasting more than saving by keeping the car. As I work at home, I don’t drive a lot and so I’ve been debating on what to do about my car.

    I hope you don’t mind, but I copied this post so I can remember what to do.

    Sara´s last post ..Children of the Holocaust

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    I’m glad you can use the info in your car. The only problem you will have now is to decide upon the results…remember the post “Standing in the cold” ? :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Burning Fuel

  5. What a neat analysis. You, men, have an incredible skill in analysing things. I see you point. No wonder why everytime I tell my husband about an article I read on how to save fuel he will always tell me things similar to yours. I wish sometimes I could see things the way you, Martians, do. :D
    Anne Sales | You Love Coupons´s last post ..Network Solutions Offer Code

    Raul Ojeda Reply:

    Hi Anne,

    Thank you, and welcome to Alien Ghost. Oh yes, we Martians have our way to see things, although we also tend to look at Venusians in amazement :)

    Raul Ojeda´s last post ..Burning Fuel

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