Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tank 157 - 22 May 2008

Refueled at Wawa last Thursday afternoon, getting 11.367 gallons after
going 458.8 miles, making for an alleged fuel economy of 40.36. This is
notable because it is the absolute farthest I have ever gone on a single
tank of gas.

The Wawa did not have a sticker on the pump that said its gas has 10%
ethanol in it, so I must believe that it was 100% gasoline with no
ethanol. This leads me to believe that this Wawa tank ought to give me
a touch better fuel economy, all other factors remaining equal, as
ethanol has less power than gasoline, or so I have heard.

However, since I share my ride a couple days a week now, I feel
compelled to drive a little bit faster than I normally would: 70 instead
of 65. However, there was that one time when we were going to VA Beach
and I just drove as fast as I could, going about 75 most of the way, and
my mileage was still really good, so perhaps there will not be as large
a dip. Either way, by hitching a ride with Sandra twice a week, I am
stretching each tank of gas much farther as I save over 60 miles each
time I don't have to drive to work.

This last tank was also the most I have ever spent on one tank of gas:
$43.18, or $3.799 per gallon. I am glad it's still under fifty dollars,
as some of my friends have spent over $75 to fill their tanks. Our
minivan also is expensive to refill, but luckily that only gets refilled
every three weeks or so.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

End of tank update - 22 May 2008

Well, my low fuel light came on at 431.7 miles yesterday on my way home,
which is the longest I have ever driven before it came on (since I
started tracking this statistic on 6 June 2007). As we neared the exit,
I pumped my foot on and off the gas to try making the car fit and start
and buck, but it did not do that too much, but enough to make my
passenger think we were really out of gas. I warned her earlier that if
we ran out of gas, she'd have to push. I also assured her we would not
run out of gas, and explained in detail how confident I was, but still
the threat loomed and she was a bit frightened for a few seconds.

The car has now gone about 455 miles, also the farthest I have ever gone
on a tank of gas. I will likely refuel this afternoon on my way home
from the K-Mart parking lot, in the event the Mighty Corolla is called
to service over the long weekend. I'll post mileage numbers on Tuesday
when I get back to work.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tank Update - 423 miles and no low fuel light

I think I'll be able to make it all the way home tonight without running
out of gas. If I can do that, it'll be the farthest I have ever gone on
a tank of gas. My current record is 454.9 miles, and if I can get home
without refueling, I should be a little more miles than that. I have
made a conscious effort to coast more down hills, look farther ahead at
traffic and coast when I see it stopped ahead of me, and accelerate
slower and steadier.

Will this pay off when I refuel? That is hard to say. My theory is
that different gas pumps shut off at different times, so if I go to a
pump that shuts off really early, my mileage will be through the roof!
I will most likely not refuel at the exact pump I got this tank at,
since it was the Woodbridge Sam's Club and I'll be in Fredericksburg
when it'll be time to refuel.

This fuel economy game shall remain a mystery. But I think that over
the long run, the average mileage of 36.72 mpg for the life of my car,
and 38.00 mpg for 2008, is about right.

An interesting note of trivia is that in 2007, my average refill was
10.519 gallons, and for my first 16 tanks in 2008, my average refill is
also 10.519 gallons. That's sort of neat to have the numbers match out
to the thousandth like that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Adventures in Lawnmowing

Last weekend I mowed my lawn in wavy lines. Normally I don't do that,
but I figured what the heck and instead of straightening up the curve
around the mulched trees, I kept it going all the way across the yard.
It was a pretty design when I was finished.

Sadly, all the weaving back and forth I think wore out one of the rear
wheels to the point I'll have to replace it. All the pivoting and
swerving over the past 5 years has slowly chipped away small parts of
the back wheel where it spins on the axle, and my fun on Saturday broke
off enough pieces that the wheel wobbles very badly. There was one
point during the day that the rear wheel was just sliding across the
grass rather than rolling.

But since we bought this lawnmower, we have just bought the standard
maintenance items, such as blades, spark plugs, oil, and air filters, so
this is a small cost for repair. The mower is about 6 years old and
otherwise has operated fine.

The wavy lines in the back yard are still visible, and I think I may do
it like that again in the future. Conventional wisdom says you
shouldn't mow your grass in the same pattern each time, so that the
grass does not fall into a growing habit. The weeds and clover in my
grass pretty much render this advice unnecessary, but the change of
mowing patterns is a nice change of pace as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tank 156 - 13 May 2008

So the Costco gas gravy train has come to an apparent screeching halt.
I tried getting gas there today and was declined! I guess Costco
figured out that I quit in a huff over their crappy new milk cartons and
shut me off for good.

So I went to the Sam's Club gas station instead. It was five cents more
per gallon at $3.649, but we have established that the money I saved by
joining BJ's instead of Costco is equivalent to the five cents per
gallon less at Costco over the course of a year. And when you factor in
that I can use my Disney Rewards Visa at Sam's and other gas stations,
the decision to leave Costco still remains a good one.

I am, however, a little sad that I no longer can enjoy my little scam of
getting Costco gas whilst not being a member.

Anyway, 416.8 miles on 11.229 gallons made for a rather disappointing
mileage number of 37.12 miles per gallon. This lowered my average fuel
economy for 2008 to an even 38.00 mpg.

This tank cost me $40.97, which is more than a dollar more than I have
ever had to spend on a tank of gas. Luckily, I am carpooling now
(except for this week as Sandra's on travel), so I will be driving less
if it all works out.

Last May 14, I had spent $380.65 on 16 tanks of gas. This May 13, I
have spent $518.46 on 16 tanks of gas, that is $137.81 more than the
similar time last year, about 36% more for the cost of gas, or $8.61
more per tank, or about $0.80 more per gallon of gas.

If I continue carpooling and hitch a ride two days a week, the 40%
reduction in gas usage will be about equivalent to the increases in gas
price. This is notable, and perhaps will inspire others to do the same.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Refuel? Probably Tomorrow

The new carpool plan has helped me go more than twelve days without
refueling the Mighty Corolla. This is nice, seeing on how gas
apparently is quite expensive. I am happy to be doing something more
about it other than drive like a grandma to get better mileage.

So far in 2008 I have refueled on average every 9.27 days. By hitching
a ride twice a week, this in effect reduces my gas consumption by 40%,
provided we can stick with the plan over time. Gas has not gone up 40%
in price since last year (yet!), so I may end up seeing an end result of
less money spent on gas this year.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Carpooling May Reduce Posts

Well, I am in week 2 of the carpool with my friendly coworker Sandra.
The plus side is that, if we keep to our proposed schedule of each
giving the other a ride to work twice a week, my gas consumption will be
reduced about 40%. The minus side is that that means I will refuel less
frequently and thus have less data to post.

So far, the carpooling isn't that hard. I wake up about 10 minutes
earlier in order to get to the meeting point (about 1.2 miles from my
house) on time, and other than that, commute times are so far about the
same. Only less stress on the days I don't drive.

Another downside is I am not able to listen to my books on the CDs as
much so far. Perhaps that will change in the future. But I think the
notable and dramatic dip in my gas usage makes up for it.