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5 entries from March 2012

Does Fuel Efficiency increase When You Get To the End of Your Gas Tank?

Fuel Efficiency
Photo: iStockphoto

As you can imagine, fuel efficiency is a hot topic here at PumpTalk. We're always looking for new tips to pass on to our readers about how to get the most out of their gas. In my relentless pursuit of gas saving tips, I came across a "fuel-saving" idea this morning that I hadn't heard before. The tip was that if you drive around with a half-tank of gas or less, you could increase your fuel efficiency. On paper, it makes sense. Gas does add weight to your car - and reducing weight in your car can increase fuel efficiency. But, as it turns out, consistently driving around with not much gas in your tank is not the best way to save on fuel.

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Oil Changes – How Technology Has Changed the 5,000 km Rule

Oil Change
Photo: iStockphoto

Why do you need to perform an oil change?

Whether you do the job or leave it to your mechanic, performing an oil change on your vehicle is one of the most important vehicle maintenance procedures. As the oil breaks down, it no longer performs as well, lessening its ability to provide adequate protection to your engine. If you do not get regular oil changes it can affect the oil’s ability to lubricate your engine properly. Dirt builds up and additives in the oil that protect your engine will wear out.

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Communicating with other drivers - is honking effective anymore?

Photo: iStockphoto

Back in the day, if you didn't like how someone was driving, you could just pull up next to his chariot and unleash your wheel spikes, à la Ben Hur. While driving technology has come a long way, communication between drivers is still pretty rudimentary.

I personally have a lot of keen advice for other drivers when I'm on the road and no way of sharing it. I've often thought I could make a mint by developing an effective ODS - Opinion Delivery System ("TM") - that could communicate my driving tips to the other drivers around me in real time. The patent is still pending on that one.

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Gas Pricing: What Factors Affect the Prices You See At The Pump

Gas Prices

Gas prices are always a common subject for PumpTalk readers, so we decided to provide you with an update on pricing and what elements make up the price you see at the pump.  The two largest factors that influence gas prices are crude oil costs and taxes.  Following that is the cost of refining and marketing – which is all costs of operations – including the costs of refining and distribution, along with all marketing and operational expenses at the retail level.  

Other elements to consider are local competition and commodity gasoline prices. We discussed this in more detail in a previous post on gas pricing
Let’s focus on the largest piece of the puzzle – crude oil pricing.

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How Much is Left In Your Fuel Tank When your Fuel Gauge reads "Empty"?

Fuel Gauge
Photo: iStockphoto

I was rewatching the 1994 romantic comedy Only You this past weekend and one scene in particular was the catalyst for this week's PumpTalk post.

Hot on the heels of the mystery man she thinks is her soulmate, protagonist Marisa Tomei and her sidekick Bonnie Hunt run out of gas in the Italian countryside. They bicker about which of them misjudged how much gas it would take their cute rental car to get from Venice to Rome. Despondent, the ladies go off to drink wine in some ruins. While they make up - spoiler alert! - a truck full of nuns come along, find their abandoned car and fill the tank with enough gas to get them to the nearest town.

The movie got me thinking about two things. One, I decided I needed to revisit the oeuvre of Robert Downey Jr. and two, I started to wonder "How much gas is actually left in your tank when the fuel gauge needle hits 'Empty'?" Does "empty" mean "empty"? Or, as the old saying goes, does "E" on your fuel gauge mean "Ehhh, there's a little more gas in there"?

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