Friday, July 27, 2007

The Low Fuel Light Taunts Me

The other day as I was driving home, I was watching for the "low fuel
warning" light to turn on in my dashboard. I have been trying to note
the distance traveled when the light turns on, to give me an initial
indication of what my fuel economy might be.

Usually the light turns on and stays on. But two weeks ago, it turned
on and remained on as I drove home, but the next day it was off for a
while as I drove around town. Naturally, my suspicions were raised and
questions filled my head.

Is this a new phenomenon brought on by the increasing age of my car?

Has this always happened and I just never noticed?

What mileage mark is correct to use in my notes of when the light turns
on?

I decided that the mileage when the light lit and stayed on permanently
would be the standard reading. I chose this because the fuel gauge, and
this the low fuel indicator light, varies according to the slope of the
hill I am driving on. Up a hill = tank appears emptier, down a hill =
tank appears fuller.

So that afternoon, the LFI (low fuel indicator) lit up at 398.6 miles.
I thought that was pretty good. The light went off, but I did not note
the mileage as traffic was heavy. Then it came on again at 400.5 miles,
and off again at 401.8 miles. I never realized my trip home was so
hilly!

The LFI lit again at 405.1 miles, and incredibly turned off again at
406.5 miles. Obviously, I was getting excited. The light stayed off
for five more miles before turning on for good at 411.7 miles.

I made it home and filled up the next morning to discover this tank had
served me well, providing greater than 39 miles per gallon.

My goal before the end of the year is to have two tanks in a row with
better than 40 mpg.

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