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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
*commentary warning*
The car's going to use the gas anyway. What am I really trying to accomplish?

Since 2007, hypermilers like me and car makers like Hyundai have coaxed us into thinking in terms of MPG only. This car gets 40MPG on the the highway; this one only gets 39; we get 28; so does the RAV4.

While all those numbers are accurate, do they really speak to the way we use cars, the way we drive from place to place, run errands, buy groceries?

I don't think so.

I don't ever recall thinking to myself, "I'm go to drive 2 miles to the Walmart, then 10 miles to the Barnes & Noble, then drive a quarter mile in the parking lot to get over to the Target."

Instead, I think to myself, "It'll take me 10 minutes to get to the Walmart. From there, I'll get on the highway, and in another 10 minutes, I'll get to the Barnes & Noble." Nevermind that, for one leg of that trip I'm averaging 25MPH in stop-and-go traffic, but the second leg is a 60MPH highway run.

Furthermore, the highway trip is 10 miles and takes me 10 minutes. The run to Walmart is 2 miles and also takes me 10 minutes, including stops.

In all that time, my driving style will be able to influence total fuel economy by 15% or 20% at most, barring some anomaly like a traffic jam or just hammering the throttle at every traffic light. That's a difference between 23MPG and 27MPG, 30MPG at very best. Significant, but at $4.00/gal, that's a difference of $8 per 200 mile fill-up, $400 a year. It's trivial next to the cost of the car.

For the 24-mile round-trip I described above, the difference between 23MPG and 30MPG is $0.63.

In terms of transportation value, there's no difference between those 10 highway miles that got me 30MPG, or those 2 city miles that got me 23MPG or 20 or 15MPG if there was traffic. The car took me where I was going.

I should make clear that I'm still a hypermiler, and that I still believe the benefits of hypermiling are worth it. And fun. But it seems to me that the obsession--okay, my obosession--with 50MPG vs 40MPG vs 39MPG just fails to tell the whole story. I don't use the car to drive "39 miles;" I use the car to go to the store.

So, if MPG is a bad metric, then what's better? Consumer Reports talks about GPM--gallons-per-mile as a better metric of actual fuel cost. If I'm only spending $30 on a tank of gas for the week, a Prius getting double the MPG can only save me $15 on that fill-up.

It's also important to say the commercials quote highway MPG, which is almost meaningless. Any car can get up to speed and just cruise! City MPG is far more important, because the city's where all the real gas guzzling takes place.

That makes the case for the Prius, other hybrids, and diesels, which access all of their torque at low speeds.

So maybe I'm biased and just consoling myself, since our beloved G2xB has never been a fuel champ, and now has worst-in-class fuel economy. I'm an odd driver with the brains of a hybrid owner and the heart of a boy racer.

But in terms of cost vs. value, the metric of miles per gallon fails to tell the whole story, because the same amount of time in the car can result in a vastly different amount of miles driven. Furthermore, after so much hypermiling, I just cannot seem to influence MPG enough to significantly change fuel cost, partly because fuel amounts to a small part of the total operating cost of the car, even at $4/gal.

The true value of gasoline is not the individual miles, but in the destinations I'm able to reach. If those places are in the city, a lower MPG number returns the same value as a higher MPG number on a highway trip.
 

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and the point is......
 

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*commentary warning*
...that's a difference of $8 per 200 mile fill-up, $400 a year. It's trivial next to the cost of the car.
I read something similar when researching regular vs. premium fuel (which is recommended for my wife's Mini). Yeah, you can save a few bucks putting regular in, but given the number of miles a typical person drives in a year and the gas mileage of the car the extra 20 cents per gallon is only a few hundred dollars per year - which isn't really all that much.
 

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and the point is......

exactly...i drive 30k a year. i dont figure city vs highway but rather total MPG overall because overall is what i care about. i could care less about shaving a nickel off the cost of a trip to Target. Our cars are rated 22 - 28, i get 30+ and Im very happy with that.
 

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I can corroborate the MPG difference you described that you can get by changing your driving style. I have kept all my mileages for each fill-up since 1999.

The real measure would be $ per month or something but of course that depends heavily on people's driving habits. I notice whenever I have some highway driving, it really dominates the MPG I get for that tank (because you drive way more miles on the highway).

I am not a hypermiler but I have experimented changing driving style, trying different octane, etc. for the purpose of saving money. Driving style does have a decent effect. I probably saved a lot of money over the years by now. However I like to go fast sometimes (and so does my car) so I treat myself occasionally. With my new xB, I have been driving for fun a lot of the time (not trying to save gas) and I still get around 26-27MPG, and non-premium gas so nice improvement from my Grand Prix GTP. It's also mostly city driving now for me.

By the way, I've owned a previous car that used regular gas, and one that used premium. The gas that was recommended did indeed get the best mileage for both. My wife's MINI uses premium also but I wasn't going to test on her car.

I will post my mileage record at some point in the future in case anyone wants to see. It will also be interesting to see any change from mods I want to do in the future. I'm establishing a base now, lol.

Jon, do you keep a record? Do you notice any differences among gas stations? Any tips you can give?
 

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I don't notice a difference between brand name gas and the generic stations. The big killer for me is when the 2 states i drive in switch to winter gas, i lose %10.
 

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I don't notice a difference between brand name gas and the generic stations. The big killer for me is when the 2 states i drive in switch to winter gas, i lose %10.
Wow no kidding? I guess that could explain why I noticed the dip in MPG every winter. I just figured it was the temps. Need to research - found HowStuffWorks "Why is summer fuel more expensive than winter fuel?"

Here is what I have for gas stations. These are the only 3 that I have more than 3 records for (unfortunately I wasn't recording the gas station until late 2008 ). This is for my 2001 Grand Prix GTP, and 93 octane every time. Also, this is "measured" MPG rather than what the computer said. The computer was always a bit higher, just like it seems to be in the xB so far. Why is this? Highest MPG was 29.9 on trip back from Indianapolis on Shell gas in 2008.

BP: 23.215
Shell: 23.196
Phillips 66: 22.776
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
and the point is......
exactly...Our cars are rated 22 - 28, i get 30+ and Im very happy with that.
The point is that my habit of shaving 68 cents from the trip to Target is more stress than it's worth, that I should be "happy with that" just like you. If that makes me Captain Obvious, well, I did say "commentary warning."
Jon, do you keep a record? Do you notice any differences among gas stations? Any tips you can give?
Yes. My best tank as been 30.3MPG with the auto. On my best highway run, I got the dash display to 35MPG.

Tips? Get off the gas pedal as soon as you're up to speed. Just enough gas to maintain cruising speed; nothing more.

I haven't noticed a big difference with gas stations, except a "full tank" can vary be 5 or 10% between stations, which either negates or pad the MPGs gained by hypermiling.

But it all irks me. Yes, EPA rates us to 28MPG, and we can get 30, even 35 on a highway run. And yes, MPG is overhyped. But our fuel economy is worst in class. 22/28 only stands up against older SUVs like the RAV4, Forrester, and Mazda5, making the xB a front-wheel-drive SUV (or a 2-row minivan).

Our xB was never marketed as the alternative family hauler that it is. It's either a tuner car that's not fast, or an "urban utility" that gets SUV-like MPGs. That identity crisis is the reason the new xB never sold well, and is being discontinued.
 

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I believe if it was marketed properly it would have sold much better. Scion missed a huge opportunity not to go head to head with Kia. Kia directly went after the xB in their ads and Scion rolled over. Now look at the success of the Soul. Another reason is that when people go to a dealership to look at a Scion a lot of time the salesperson will guide them to a Toyota with a bigger commission.
 

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I don't notice a difference between brand name gas and the generic stations.

As it was explained to me, the difference between brands isn't one of mileage, but of the additives. My wife's Mini was running rough and we took it in for service. They had to remove the intake and blast it with walnut shells I think and clean the injectors. Luckily, it was covered under warranty. The person at the service counter said we need to use a "top-tier fuel" because they put more detergents in the gas to keep the fuel system clean. If we weren't going to do that, they recommended using a bottle of their BMW fuel injector cleaner 2-3 times per year (at $15 per bottle).

A google search led me to this site about top-tier fuels. I don't know how authoritative it is, or who is publishing the info.
 

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Our xB was never marketed as the alternative family hauler that it is. It's either a tuner car that's not fast, or an "urban utility" that gets SUV-like MPGs. That identity crisis is the reason the new xB never sold well, and is being discontinued.
I can agree with this. In its role it actually fits me very well which is why I got it. I have to say it is fun to drive though.

I believe if it was marketed properly it would have sold much better. Scion missed a huge opportunity not to go head to head with Kia. Kia directly went after the xB in their ads and Scion rolled over. Now look at the success of the Soul. Another reason is that when people go to a dealership to look at a Scion a lot of time the salesperson will guide them to a Toyota with a bigger commission.
That's no joke. Did you ever see a Scion xB commercial? I am finally seeing Scion FR-S ads, but those are the first Scion ads I've ever seen. Now did you ever see a Kia Soul ad? lol. I feel like blaring that Party Rock song every time I pull up next to a Soul at a traffic light just to be funny.
 

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As it was explained to me, the difference between brands isn't one of mileage, but of the additives. My wife's Mini was running rough and we took it in for service. They had to remove the intake and blast it with walnut shells I think and clean the injectors. Luckily, it was covered under warranty. The person at the service counter said we need to use a "top-tier fuel" because they put more detergents in the gas to keep the fuel system clean. If we weren't going to do that, they recommended using a bottle of their BMW fuel injector cleaner 2-3 times per year (at $15 per bottle).

A google search led me to this site about top-tier fuels. I don't know how authoritative it is, or who is publishing the info.
What the heck, BP is not on there. They have their own special additive marketing I think but maybe it's not up to snuff.
Here is the list - Top Tier Gasoline

Ah here you go, it's really set up by the car manufacturers - Top Tier Detergent Gasoline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
there is a reference to a good Car and Driver article at the bottom also. It's good that they did that so the gas retailers that actually put more into their gas get some kind of credit.

"GM and other manufacturers, however, noticed there were regional concentrations of fuel-system warranty claims and traced the problem to the fuel."

"Since it's not known what causes these deposits, gasoline retailers can't be penalized for selling defective fuel. So to keep the deposits from forming in the engines, you need detergents added to the fuel."

PS. I'm surprised their BMW fuel injector cleaner is only $15.
 

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Thanks for the links. I thought the C & D article and the CarTalk (Click & Clack) were both good.
 

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Thanks for mentioning the Top Tier Gas. I had no idea that was out there until you mentioned it.
 

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i appreciate the tech data that i find on this site. and the willingness of the members to research and share results and experience.

there was a time i used Lucas Oil fuel additive w/regular unleaded. and then considered using octane booster. but after calculating the cost of the additives, it would be cheaper to run a tank of premium to keep my fuel injectors, throttle body, and internal components free of carbon deposits. its good to know the top-tier gasolines have these cleaning additives.

every time i check my throttle body its clean and deposit-free. i changed sparkplugs @ 100k and they were "white". so in my experience, the grade of gasoline made a difference in the life of my engine. the longer this xB goes, the better it runs.
 

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Thanks for mentioning the Top Tier Gas. I had no idea that was out there until you mentioned it.
We all learn a lot in these forums!

I didn't know about top-tier gas either until we bought the Mini. They mentioned it at purchase. I think it's odd though that Toyota is listed in the article as one of the companies behind the development of top-tier gas and they didn't mention it when I bought the xB.
 

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there was a time i used Lucas Oil fuel additive w/regular unleaded. and then considered using octane booster. but after calculating the cost of the additives, it would be cheaper to run a tank of premium to keep my fuel injectors, throttle body, and internal components free of carbon deposits. its good to know the top-tier gasolines have these cleaning additives.

every time i check my throttle body its clean and deposit-free. i changed sparkplugs @ 100k and they were "white". so in my experience, the grade of gasoline made a difference in the life of my engine. the longer this xB goes, the better it runs.
erozcs, does this mean you use high octane gas every time?

From the links posted, if the gas retailer is on the Top Tier list, they have the cleaning additives up to standards in every gas they offer. I imagine it might have only been in the premium gas previously, and maybe that's how it is now for BP still.

Also, I tried putting premium in a non-premium specified car before and did notice worse gas mileage over several instances. It was stock though. They say the car's computer will reduce efficiency to protect the engine when you use a non-optimal fuel. I'm not sure exactly how it makes that determination.
 

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erozcs, does this mean you use high octane gas every time?
i run a tank of premium once a quarter, in lieu of special retail additives. i use the premium as a cleaning agent for the higher concentration of additives. plus it burns hotter to loosen more carbon deposits.

the cost difference between a tank of premium and regular is less than the cost of a retail bottle of additive. when i'm ready to do this, i look for a drop in gas prices, fuel points, etc., to shave some nickels off the total costs of premium (haha!).

the ecu is factory-calibrated for optimal efficiency using regular unleaded fuel. i do notice a drop in mpg at about a half tank, but along with that an increase in power and torque. sometimes i top-off with regular to balance out the octane levels. after that i run regular gas; the ecu adjusts and my mpg is good.

i can't present any science behind what i'm doing, but i do have a clean running engine with less maintenance.
 

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Ok cool, that makes sense. I certainly don't know the science either but sounds good to me. Thanks for sharing.

Zinger thanks for the article, interesting read. If I ever do one of those fuel additives then I know what to look for.
 
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