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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Filling up -- or not?

Posted Monday, June 2, 2008, at 6:59 AM

The Associated Press reports that more Americans are becoming stranded by the roadside after running out of gas.

Many drivers are putting in as little gas as they can get by with.

What about you?

I usually put in either $30, which fills my Honda CR-V's tank almost to the top, or $20, which takes it to about half full. I'm not sure why I got into the habit of using an even number other than it's convenient to just pay with $20 or $10 bills.

On the same topic, do you "round up" to, say $40, if the pump stops at, say, $39.60, or pay exactly where it stops? We actually had a discussion about this once in the office. Most "round up."


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On a related note...I just filled up the same station that cut me off at $75, but this time it did not cut me off. I wonder if thats the case for other stations or just this one. I alsways fill up at the same station, they have gas with no ethanol. Ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline, so the more ethanol the less MPGs you will get. In case you are interested, here is a chart that shows the energy densities of various substances...enjoy.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en...

-- Posted by Chad O on Fri, Jun 6, 2008, at 7:03 AM

Deception. Love those cars. Used to drive a 2000 Maxima that was paid for. Ugh, I should have kept it....

Though, mine never got mpgs that good :( and now with my Altima I only realize a combined 23 mpgs... About 30 highway and 18-20 city...

Oh, and I filled up yesterday (as they were raising the price again) and my grand total, $69.75. :( :( :(

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Jun 5, 2008, at 6:52 PM

I always just fill up personally. It's not great or something I like to do very often. It's on average $60 for 14 gallons (yay premium). I get about 27-28 mpg on average. I drive a 02 Nissan Maxima with the 3.5 v6. We recently took a trip and I was surprised that I only used about 2 tanks of gas there and back and the next week home.

-- Posted by Deception82z on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 5:04 AM

I wasn't talking about financing a used car. I was talking about buying one for between $500-$1000...ok, I shouldn't have used "a few hundred" for an example, but you can buy a decent used car for a grand or less and spend another grand or two to fix pretty much anything that's wrong with it. At that point, why bother buying a new one?

Common sense, as you brought up, would dictate that you not buy anything that's going to lose value at the rate that a new car does.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 11:19 PM

A good used car for "a few hundred" [dollars]... Right! Yeah. New cars are cheaper to maintain and the cost of ownership is actually less (especially if you financed one)... That's common sense.

Compare interest rates on new cars and then check em out on used... I know I paid 7% interest on my used car, and a year later the interest on a new one, was just 1.9%... The sticker price is obviously a huge difference, but the bottom line is usually the same.

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 11:03 PM

You sound like a new car salesman. I doubt very seriously that MOST used cars are "pieced together with bondo and glue".

But I would rather take my chances with a good used car, that I can check out, than take my chances with a new car that I KNOW I would be getting screwed on. Thanks for the concern though.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 10:30 PM

Thom,

I just hope you don't get in t-boned in a cheap used car... Most of those were pieced together with bondo and glue. But hey, to each his own.

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 9:40 PM

Thanks Chad O for the information. It makes since knowing that all of our bank accounts are struggling with the gas prices.

-- Posted by ohwell on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 9:01 PM

Nope, not really. I'm keeping the van but if we do get a smaller car it'll be a used one. I won't buy another new car. I just can't justify spending $15k or more to get an extra 10 mpg at the most. At that rate, it would take me an extra 180000 miles to make up the difference in gas savings from what I currently own and what I might purchase. That's assuming that I didn't finance it. Sorry, but I can go to an auction or Craigslist (or the local paper) and buy a small car for a few hundred and then pay a grand (at most) to get it in good running order and not have a car note. Not having to pay a payment on something is worth much more to me than having cheap gas.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 9:00 PM

I fill up also.I live in Indiana and this morining I paid $4.15 a gallon.

Last week I drive down to Florida for vacation ( I stopped and spent the night in Shelbyville, theres no place like home).I filled up 5 times and it cost me $330, for the round trip, gas is so much cheaper in the south

-- Posted by redcat00 on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 8:48 PM

Thom, I know a few folks who LOVE their Versa's b/c for a car under $18,000 you get high quality materials, fit and finish, and the superb protection and mpgs...

As far as the auto or manual transmissions go, neither one is better than the other. Many automatics now are so advanced that they actually use less gas when compared to manuals... Interesting question though, because Nissan is the first major automaker to "successfully" engineer a CVT transmission (Continuously Variable Timing), which means there is no shifting felt at all... The Versa, Sentra, Maxima, Altima, Murano, Rogue, and maybe a few others use this transmission. Since I used to own a 2003 Murano I can tell you from experience, it is smoooooooooooooth... Even the Murano got about 23 mpgs...

Thom are you considering trading down? (I am not a Nissan salesperson either, I just happen to love the em')

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 3:27 PM

Darrick - That was my feeling about my van (6-cyl) getting 20mpg...considering my driving habits, that was decent in my opinion. But since I have such a long commute, the driving habits had to change. Basically at this point I am getting a free week a month, which makes a HUGE difference. There is a guy that I work with that bought a Versa a few months ago and he is extremely happy with it. Not just for gas mileage, but just overall satisfaction with the way it handles and everything.

Another question that I have for people regarding gas mileage:

Does it make a huge difference whether you have an automatic or a stick? I know that "back in the day" you could expect to get better mileage with a stick than with an automatic transmission. Is that still the case?

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 12:41 PM

I drive an 05 Nissan Altima SE-R (V6) and I average about 23.5 mpg, which is not bad considering my driving habits... I usually get 395-405 miles to a tank (and the tank is 20 gallons, though I have NEVER been able to fill it up past 18.5) The Manufacturer's Recommendation is Premium Unleaded Fuel, though I have begun only fueling up with Regular Unleaded, and I save $2.50 a tank when I do that, with about the same mpgs.

Even with the mediocre mileage I am still considering downsizing to a 4cyl Nissan Versa or Sentra which average 33 mpg. These cars offer 5 star crash ratings along with better mpgs, it's hard to go wrong with that.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 10:29 AM

Also in terms of fuel economy, I like jaxspike's take on the subject. I would like to add that riding around with half a tank of gas instead of a full tank reduces your car's weight by ~1%. That doesnt translate to much (if any) fuel efficiency increase. And for me persoanlly doesn't justify having to make twice as many (or more) trips to the gas station.

-- Posted by Chad O on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 10:14 AM

ohwell,

The $75 limit comes from the fact that the gas station puts a hold on your account for that much money to make sure you can pay for the gas...if it's too low, you have to make multiple transactions...if it's too high, then more cards will get denied due to insufficient funds. It also has to do with credit card fraud limitations.

-- Posted by Chad O on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 9:50 AM

Thom and tn.moonshiner . . . you are both right and wrong!

For around town driving with frequent starts and stops, a less full fuel tank would give better economy. For long highway trips a full tank and fewer starts and stops will result in better economy. You see once you reach highway speeds, the difference between the full tank and the empty tank will be much less due largely to Newton's first law of motion; which states, an object in motion tends to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force and an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Once you get to highway speeds, you only have to overcome the forces of drag and friction. The shape of the car is the same whether the fuel tank is full or empty, so the drag will be the same. Friction on the other hand will vary with weight, so a heavier car will have higher friction between the tires and the road, etc.

On long trips though, as the force required to accelerate is much higher than the force required to maintain velocity, and the differences in frictional forces are minimal. If you don't start out with a full tank, the multiple fuel stops and subsequent accelerations back to highway speed will lessen your fuel efficiency.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:46 PM

rebelrose, I like your idea about buses in the county, I am a big fan of public transportation (we went three years without a car, and relied soley on buses and subways). I just wonder how many people would take advantage of it? It seems like the buses they started in Murfreesboro are doing okay, but they could certainly be doing much better (especially with the price of gas).

And, I always fill the tank (unless I don't have enough money to do that). We actually tend to fill it when it's slightly below half - we commute to MTSU everyday, so it's better to do that rather than worry about it getting too low and running out.

-- Posted by cfrich on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:45 PM

I was in Manchester today at the Doc's and I got gas there for 3.75 (regular)..Thought I would pass that along in case anyone is going that way..But just up the road when you get into Tullahoma it is 3.85..When I went in to pay the Lady working there said she had heard that someone tried to steal a gas truck today...Were would someone hide a gas truck at??? Things are going to get bad I think...You know I was thinking today as I sat forever in the doctor's office that Bedford county could save gas with the buses or the people that work with the city and drive their car's or trucks by going to 4 days and 10 hour days...I believe alot of gas could be saved that way...Just a thought again from me...

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:32 PM

tn.moonshiner - Actually, you get better mileage with less gas in your tank since it's less weight that the car is hauling around. I'm not saying that people should be riding around with no gas, but it does burn less than a full tank. But I completely agree with what you were saying.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:29 PM

I fill my SUV up to the last drop and it costs around $82.00. Yes, I do round up to an even amount. It just seems to make more sense to me for some odd reason. I have also had the pump cut off at $75.00. Does anyone know the reason for this?

-- Posted by ohwell on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 8:31 PM

I have heard the arguement that if you fill your tank up you get better gas mileage. That is simply not true. You get the same mileage per gallon, the fooling factor is when the fuel gauge hits full their is room for a few more gallons.what do you call full? full by the gauge or till it runs out the neck. thats where you think you are getting better mileage

-- Posted by tn.moonshiner on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 4:35 PM

We usually have to fill up since I drive 110 miles a day round trip just to work. But I have eased off the pedal (and so have a lot of other people driving around nowadays) and my mileage has gone from 20 mpg to 27 mpg just by doing that. I think the main place you gain gas mileage is by taking off slowly and easing up to the speed limit (if you are going to go that fast). Picking up speed going down one hill so that you can use that momentum to get you partly up the next hill helps a bit too. Sounds kind of goofy, but I can't dispute the amount of gas mileage that I've gained by doing this. Having your tires aired fully only gives you an extra 2-3%, but I've gained 35% just by watching my speed.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 3:18 PM

It is true that if you have $100 on your kroger card, gas is 10 cents off. But if you don't use it by the end of the month, you lose it, it starts all at the 1st of each month. However, I recently compared prices of approx. 80 items from Kroger to Walmart. These were items that I use on a regular basis. Unless Kroger is having a sale, Walmart beat them on every single item in the grocery dept. The savings ranged anywhere from a few cents up to $1.50 per item. I just have to watch Krogers sale paper. I save more on groceries at Walmart than I do on gas at Kroger.

-- Posted by time2relax on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 1:16 PM

jkelley...Do yo have a Krogers card?? The reason I ask ..is because if you buy your stuff from Krogers and use your card for your discounts on things that are on sale...then you can use your card at the pump..and if you have bought 100.00 (i believe) you get 10 cents off your gas at the pumps...every little bit helps...

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 12:04 PM

They keep talking about the price of gasoline......what about diesel! It is higher than gas. The last time I filled up, which is usually at Wal-mart, I paid 106 dollars. They have their pumps cutting off at 75 dollars but I don't know why. I did the same thing Chad O did and started it over and filled up. I have also heard that you get better milage filling up too. But I don't know what the deal is with the pump cutting off. I think Wal-mart is the only place that does it.

-- Posted by jkelley on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 11:20 AM

I fill up.

I drove to Virginia and back this weekend -- OUCH. During one of our stops of I-81 on the way home, we saw a man and his daughter stranded because they had run out of gas. He said he'd been fishing with his daughter and only had 23 miles to go when he ran out of gas.

My husband gave him a little money. I am always skeptical of situations like that (we once got hit up by a man and his daughter at a movie theater parking lot, only to see the same pair begging for gas the next week) but my husband has a softer heart than me. I am glad he does because this man and his daughter probably really did need gas and I hope we helped them get home.

-- Posted by sfowler on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 11:20 AM

Evil Monkey,

I have a Nissan Titan. 22 gallon tank I think. Luckily my drive to work is only 10 miles.

-- Posted by Chad O on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 10:23 AM

Well I wish I could say Fill her up...with me it is either 15.00 or 20.00...My husband on the other hand does 10.00...because we never know when old brown betty is going to just stop forever( he drives a old brown 1974 ford truck) ...We always say next pay day we are going to fill up...But something else comes up every time and the money goes there...I can remember my dad giving me 50 cents and the gas can and I would ride my bike down to the country store and fill up the can with 50 cents ...That would be the lawn mower gas...That would cut a acre and a half of lawn and still have some left over to ride my dog around in the yard....Wow that was a while back...

-- Posted by rebelrose on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 10:20 AM

I fill up each time because I drive over 120 miles a day to work.

-- Posted by roadrunner on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 10:20 AM

Chad O,

Wow you might have a huge gas tank, what kind of vehicle is that?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 9:13 AM

Yup, I also fill it up...I never stop the pump on my own. To not fill it up is just a waste of time because you have to stop yet again, pay again, etc. Recently the pump cut me off at $75...I just swiped my card again and kept going until I was full!

-- Posted by Chad O on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 8:37 AM

I fill it up and stop when the pump stops. I cringe when it stops, but driving to Nashville I need the gas.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 8:33 AM

I fill my tank up . . . I have always heard you get better gas mileage when you do that. I also round up because it is just easier to subtract in the checkbook when it is a dollar amount and no cents but sometimes I will go over because the pump is too fast(like $40.01). LOL!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 7:21 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.