Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tank 285 - 26 July 2K11

I refueled this morning at the Fas Mart near my home ("Home of the world's slowest gas pumps"). It was before 6:00 am and 74 degrees outside. Gas was $3.499 per gallon, and I got 11.768 gallons after driving 446.5 miles. So my fuel economy was 37.94 miles per gallon.

As the world's slowest pump was filling the mighty Corolla, I used the window washer and squeegee to clean off my front and rear windshields. After the first shutoff click, I gently squoze the pump handle again and more than half a gallon of gas went in. If I had given that pump handle a big squeeze, I suspect it would have shut off earlier due to the bubbles and such, and my mileage would have been over 38.

But it all will work out over time- probably next tank if I go to a different gas station it'll look like I used lots less gas and got much better mileage.

This was my 23rd tank for the year. I was on the 23rd tank of 2010 on June 14th last year.

Also of note, it appears that due to a days-long vacation we took earlier this month, I will escape July only having refueled twice during the month. This is an exceptionally rare occurrence, except for that I also went through July 2010 with just 2 trips to the gas station. And July 2009. And May 2008. And December 2007. But other than those five times, not a single other month with as few trips to the gas station!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tank 284 - 11 July 2K11 - Better Nate Than Lever

I refueled the mighty Corolla over a week ago and then promptly went away on a vacation. I didn't tell anyone I was going on vacation so as to avoid the fear of announcing to all the robbers that my house would be empty and open for robberies.

Anyway, way back to last week, the car had gone 441.6 miles on 11.844 gallons of gasoline, making for a fuel economy of 37.28 miles per gallon. So my dream of making 2K11 the most fuel-efficient year ever is being challenged by two consecutive lower-than-expected tanks of gas in a row, back to back.

However, I can take solace in the fact that I have driven about 1,500 fewer miles so far this year than the similar stretch of time last year.

On the other hand, I can be "continued frustrated" at the fact that my 284 tanks of miles equals 111,891.6 miles but the car's odometer read 111,950 at the time of my last refueling.

Perhaps it's time again to check my tire pressure. I check my bicycle tires every week or so, but don't remember the last time I checked the tires in the Mighty Corolla. Probably I can check it at one of the many Wawas on my way home.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Where's the Real Savings Here?

Like many people, I am mesmerized at the extreme couponers on the TV who buy 92 bags of croutons for less than a dollar. Inspired by these daring acts of bravery, we (and by "we" I really mean my wife, with sometimes help from one or more of the kids) are entering the couponing club. Now, we haven't been able to buy 100 tubes of toothpaste for a nickel yet, nor do we think we ever will, but we have seen notable savings on things we would have bought anyway.

This week, Target had these Schick hydro-five blade razors on sale for $6.49 each, and if you bought two of them, you'd get a $5.00 Target gift card. And we had two coupons for $4.00 off one of these exact razors. With a little thinking, it became evident that it would make these razors $2.49 each, and the purchase of two of them would cost $4.98, plus we'd get a $5.00 Target gift card, basically making these razors free of cost.

What an amazing bargain! But oh, no! Our local Target was all sold out! Luckily, there is a Target near my office, and two more between that one and home.

So I stopped at these three Targets on my way home earlier this week, only to see that those silly razors that were on sale were all sold out there also. Happily, I noticed at each stop that the refills for these razors (also on sale) were $10.99 for four measly blade refills! For that price, one could buy at least 8 disposable razors.

This is an horrible dilemma. On one hand, I appreciate the reduced consumption of replacing only the blades, but on the other hand, it's bloody highway robbery to have the blades themselves priced so much higher than the disposable razors that perform the same job.

Granted, the disposables were "triple blade" and the replacement blades were "quintuple hydroblades," but really, how much better can razors get? It's not like I want to slice off the top layer of my face!

So our current conclusion to this story is that we'll stick with the disposable razors that cost less and do about the same job. The "free razors" would have been nice, but the replacement of the blades would have cost much, much more in the long run.

This is a prime example of the gimmick that was pioneered by the razor companies themselves- give away the product and make money on the replacement parts that predictably wear out after repeated use. Well, as a consumer, I strongly dislike this gimmick.

Particularly vile is that these companies also produce the same disposable razors that sell for so much less than the fancy razor blade refills that they also make!

Makes me want to grow a ZZ Top beard in protest is what it does!