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Old 07-15-2009, 06:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bad Gas killing MPGs?

I have a 250 mile commute for some temporary work. Usually, I'm seeing 75-80 mpgs. I set the cruise at 60 and let PIMA work it's magic. However, yesterday on my drive back I was getting 60mpgs. That's a drastic difference in mpgs, with no change in driving styles or route. The only thing I can attribute to this incredible loss was the fact that I filled up gas before I left. I never by exxon gas, but had no choice this time because the tank was nearly empty. About 30 miles down the road, I was experiencing a huge loss of HP. On the flat with no wind the SGII was reading 45TPS in 5th gear just to keep up speed!!! It should read in the teens or low 20s. I checked tire pressure, all were at 56psi, checked under the car, nothing dangling or dragging. Any ideas? Could it be some bad gas? Has anyone ever experienced anything similar?
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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...different ethanol content?

...you sure about the wind? Wind conditions can change dramatically with distance and can increase or subside with amazing speed...

...pulling a skateboarder?
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hyperclimber View Post
I have a 250 mile commute for some temporary work. Usually, I'm seeing 75-80 mpgs. I set the cruise at 60 and let PIMA work it's magic. However, yesterday on my drive back I was getting 60mpgs. That's a drastic difference in mpgs, with no change in driving styles or route. The only thing I can attribute to this incredible loss was the fact that I filled up gas before I left. I never by exxon gas, but had no choice this time because the tank was nearly empty. About 30 miles down the road, I was experiencing a huge loss of HP. On the flat with no wind the SGII was reading 45TPS in 5th gear just to keep up speed!!! It should read in the teens or low 20s. I checked tire pressure, all were at 56psi, checked under the car, nothing dangling or dragging. Any ideas? Could it be some bad gas? Has anyone ever experienced anything similar?
This was a 'strange' station to you, right? So maybe the gas was fouled.

Have you checked/replaced all of your fuel filters?

The reason I say this, is that back in 1995, I did get a tank of contaminated fuel in my motorhome (60 gallons!) and all was okay until several miles down the road at altitude..then I was down to 20MPH crawl...I had to have the tank drained, all filters replaced and the injection system cleaned..
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So, I decided to visit some friends which also gave me an excuse to get rid of some 'tainted' gas (58mpg average for the tank, I'm still crying). This next fill up, everything seems to be back to normal. 70mpgs with a 10mph headwind over 100 miles going 60. I think I must have just had a bad tank of gas. I really hope it doesn't effect the car in the long run.

wstander: sounds like quite the horror story and costly at that.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So, I decided to visit some friends which also gave me an excuse to get rid of some 'tainted' gas (58mpg average for the tank, I'm still crying). This next fill up, everything seems to be back to normal. 70mpgs with a 10mph headwind over 100 miles going 60. I think I must have just had a bad tank of gas. I really hope it doesn't effect the car in the long run.

wstander: sounds like quite the horror story and costly at that.
Sounds like you got lucky and did not have to replace anything

Glad it all worked out in any case...........
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Maybe you filled with E85 or the station filled their tanks incorrectly? I tried a tank of E85 just to see. Smells funny sorta similar to a bar. But anyway I went from 70s and 80s to high 40s. Your not supposed to use this anyway but the higher the ethanol the lower your milage will be.
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I tried a tank of E85 just to see. Smells funny sorta similar to a bar.
Crimony! Given all the problems with E10 what on earth made you think E85 would be a good idea? The funny smell was probably your $1000 catalytic converter being assassinated, or a $250 O2 sensor, or both!
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm having the same problem. I used to average in the 70 mpg range then suddenly, about 2 months ago, I dropped into the mid 50's. My commute or gas station (Quik Trip) have not changed. This happened before the temps dropped back here in KS. My only guess is it may be related to the switch to winter blend gas. Could that make that big a difference? Is it normal for mpg to fall off much during cold weather in an Insight? I have only had mine since July so I haven't gone through a winter in one. The car seems normal in every way, no codes, no charging issues, etc... I did put a thermostat in it becauce the temp gauge was reading a bit low but it didn't help my mpg. Any advice would be appreciated. Got to stay way above my crazy Prius driving friend!!!!!
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm only 21 miles straight west of you! Yes, the cold is a mpg killer. The cardboard radiator block really helps. One of these days I'll do the warm air intake mod. We had some really ideal weather this summer, very little wind to fight. I had some 75 mpg tanks and now around 60.
I found some ethanol free gas up in Lawrence but haven't been able to tell how much if any it's helped since the cold moved in at the same time.
We may have to stay off the road for a couple of days with the storm coming in. I found out it doesn't take but about 6 inches of snow to high center the Insight!
What color is your car? Mine's Monte Carlo Blue. There are a couple of red ones running around over here.

edit: I see your's is silver from your sig. Check out cousin Bob's Packard.

Last edited by satchel; 12-24-2009 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-25-2009, 10:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hyperclimber View Post
I have a 250 mile commute for some temporary work. Usually, I'm seeing 75-80 mpgs. I set the cruise at 60 and let PIMA work it's magic. However, yesterday on my drive back I was getting 60mpgs. That's a drastic difference in mpgs, with no change in driving styles or route. The only thing I can attribute to this incredible loss was the fact that I filled up gas before I left. I never by exxon gas, but had no choice this time because the tank was nearly empty. About 30 miles down the road, I was experiencing a huge loss of HP. On the flat with no wind the SGII was reading 45TPS in 5th gear just to keep up speed!!! It should read in the teens or low 20s. I checked tire pressure, all were at 56psi, checked under the car, nothing dangling or dragging. Any ideas? Could it be some bad gas? Has anyone ever experienced anything similar?


Usually mpg will drop couple of mpg in winter due to changes in formulation for gasolines (surely you knew the formulation changed with the crude feedstocks and weather conditions expected). But this year the petroleum industry has had to revamp formulations to get more gasoline per barrel and that has meant lower combustion yields by as much as 8%. Your mpg is dependent on the heats of combustion from your gasoline. We used to get 115,000 to 122,000 Btu and now I'm told it has been dropped to 110,000 to 115,000 btu. The reason for the need to increase gas yields is the limited production capacity of US refineries. They're all running at near max capacities.
The ones really hurt are those with ethanol laced fuels.
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