Daily Smart Fact

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Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

Daily Smart Fact #7: Park in the shade to save gas

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Key Takeaway: Gas actually evaporates right out of your tank and it does so even faster when under the sun – winter or summer.

Ever since I’ve moved to our new house, which happens to be at the very top of a tall hill, my gas mileage on my car has gone from about 400 miles per tank to about 320 miles per tank.  And with the prices going up like they are these days, I’ve been looking for ways to save money on gas.  I found some great resources and tips on how to do just that – but the most interesting tip I’ve found so far is that parking in a parking garage or in the shade actually helps you save gas.  Amazing!  Here’s some info I’ve found, courtesy of “How to Save Money on Gas.”

  • Your optimal “gas saving” speed is between 45 to 55 miles per house (in other words, drive slow). Ok, this is ridiculous, who drives that slow?  But here’s some cool info I found: ” Drive under 60-65 since air grows exponentially denser, in the aerodynamic sense, the faster we drive. To be precise, the most efficient speed is your car’s minimum speed in it’s highest gear, since this provides the best “speed per RPM” ratio. This is usually about 45 to 55 miles per hour.”
  • Park in the shade. Gasoline actually evaporates right out of your tank, and it does so faster when you park directly in the sun – winter or summer. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in. If there is no shade available, park so that your gas tank (the actual tank under the car, not the valve to fill it) is facing away from the direct sun.
  • Fill up when you have a quarter tank left but don’t push this any further. Doing this can extend your gas because you are hauling a lighter fuel load. However, in cold weather, you run an increased risk of condensation in the fuel tank. Running a car with less than a quarter tank can shorten the life of the electric fuel pump and running on empty will often destroy the pump.
I have a lead foot and if you’re like me, that first bullet point is a killer.  Really?? 45 to 55 miles per hour?  Well…I’m sure there’s other ways I can save money besides gas…
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Written by Bea

May 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Economy

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Daily Smart Fact #4: All Gasoline Brands are the Same…Sorta

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Key Takeaway: All gas is almost identical, the only difference is in the additives that different manufacturers put in the gas.

So maybe this isn’t really a “fact”, since there appears to be different opinions about it while searching the interwebs.  But this is my take:

Have you ever driven around looking for a particular gas station brand, because you refuse to put “cheap gas” in your car?  I grew up with this mentality, because my mom has always sworn up and down that her Subaru Outback got less gas mileage whenever she put Arco gas in it.  So I was surprised to hear, while listening to NPR’s Car Talk the other day, that all gas is the same.  I guess I never really put much thought to it before but that really sparked my interest, so here’s some information I’ve been able to gather.

  • All gas come from a small handful of distributors – so various brands are actually the SAME gas.
  • All gas must meet the minimum federal gas quality requirement – so if you use gas from some independent gas station or Chevron, your car will run.
  • The difference is that at the point of distribution, different brands add different additives (e.g., Techron, Cleantech, etc)
  • Back in 2004,  several big carmakers — GM, Honda, Toyota and others — were unhappy with the detergent performance of gasoline, because they were finding deposits inside their beautiful engines. So they got together and created some new gasoline standards that are tougher than the federal standards. They called the gasoline that meets these higher standards “Top Tier” gas.
  • The companies that voluntarily agreed to sell only Top Tier gas in the United States are: QuikTrip, Chevron, Conoco, Phillips, 76, Shell, Entec, MFA Oil, Kwik Trip/Kwik Star, Somerset, Aloha Petroleum and Texaco.
  • So…cheaper gas tends to also mean cheaper additives

Bottom Line: Although gas is essentially the same, its the different additives that brands put in that can help make a difference. Cheaper gas tends to mean cheaper additives and dirtier gasoline.

Resources: Gasoline FAQ, Car Talk via projo, Can discount gas crimp your ride?

Written by Bea

May 16, 2011 at 10:46 am

Posted in Economy

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