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Dawai
03-01-2011, 08:41 PM
Few discussions lately. This will stir up one.

My Honda Fit (LEV), mileage started sucking.. I tuned up car, then discovered the stations I deal with are shortchanging gallons. (sent a five gallon can that got seven gallons pumped in and was not full)

I've been tempted in my spare time these days to build a cheaper custom vehicle. Working on the principles and operation.

Guidelines.. Highly efficient engine. I was thinking Hayabusa. Power storage system.. I am thinking Hydraulic with accumulator.

Controls, Gas pedal attached to control system, click, speeds in increments. (step down to 35mph speed position, computer economizes up to that speed) Most driving is done on "been there before" roads. Car with built in GPS system and data-logging.. it knows where to "rev" up the engine to accumulate power in the storage medium. Stop signs, stoplights and hills in database and gps trip route. Braking, instead of burning up the brakes in heat? pump that accumulator up with a brake pedal that first progressively routes fluid to the hydraulic motor (now a pump) to store energy normally wasted for the next surge of power needed?. (design in Mother Earth News, 1980s. Sans computer controls)

All this could be done with a small engine-batteries, or triple expansion steam engine-hydrogen peroxide-silver catalyst ecu-pressure controlled boiler.. You people shot them ideas down as being too explosive thou, or not ready for prime time.

Anybody got a few million for R&D and want to hang out with a old tattooed guy?

Comments?

(First thing I have done is find a honest gas station for the one I have.)

Carld
03-01-2011, 08:45 PM
You need to turn them in to the weights and measures in your state. Get the Attorney General involved.

Dr Stan
03-01-2011, 08:51 PM
You need to turn them in to the weights and measures in your state. Get the Attorney General involved.

Amen to that. These stations need to be busted as they are nothing but thieves.

aostling
03-01-2011, 09:00 PM
(First thing I have done is find a honest gas station for the one I have.)

I don't know about honest, but at least Gas Buddy can find a station which is cheapest. http://www.phoenixgasprices.com/GasPriceSearch.aspx?typ=adv&fuel=A&srch=0&area=Ahwatukee&area=Chandler&area=Phoenix+-+SE&area=Tempe&site=Phoenix&tme_limit=24.

Tinkerer
03-01-2011, 09:04 PM
I'd sure call someone. I turned in a station that was shorting people 5% worth of gas on each gallon. That really adds up in a day. The Auditor certify all our pumps... but as sure as the Sun rises I'll turn them into some one anyone heck most News Station have a Trouble Shooter or Call 4 Action that would love to spin this story. ;)

Dawai
03-01-2011, 09:34 PM
Are the stations using a true-mass flowmeter? or a rotary type vane type measuring device? I never calibrated or worked on the guts on one.

Remember seeing the gas pumps of the 20s and 30s with the gas bottle marked in gallons on the top?

I remember in the 70s, pumping the last from a stations tanks, the pump SPUN up like crazy.. and no gas was coming out.. meaning it was measuring air.

radkins
03-01-2011, 10:13 PM
My Honda Fit (LEV), mileage started sucking.. I tuned up car, then discovered the stations I deal with are shortchanging gallons. (sent a five gallon can that got seven gallons pumped in and was not full)


Weights and Measurements check on stations regularly and they never know when it is coming, any irregularities and the station can be fined big time! I simply can not believe a station would intentionally have their pump off that far because they would actually be facing criminal charges unless they could prove there was an unknown malfunction. This sort of thing is not at all common in spite of what some people think and for the most part gasoline dispensing is quite accurate, intentionally shorting gasoline sales is a serious offense and can land those responsible in jail and it is simply too easy to get caught to risk it.

Tinkerer
03-01-2011, 10:18 PM
Are the stations using a true-mass flowmeter? or a rotary type vane type measuring device? I never calibrated or worked on the guts on one.

Remember seeing the gas pumps of the 20s and 30s with the gas bottle marked in gallons on the top?

I remember in the 70s, pumping the last from a stations tanks, the pump SPUN up like crazy.. and no gas was coming out.. meaning it was measuring air.
Dave I'm not sure and to tell the truth did not care. I did care that I and everyone that used the station were getting poked. I had a calibrated can that I mix 2smoke fuel in pump in 2 gallons meter showed 2.12 gallons. I paid and called on them... later that day I passing by and a State Vehicle was there and a guy with a certified measure was checking the pumps and had them all tagged. Pulled in and talk to him. At first he did not want to say anything but when I showed him my receipt and told him I called. He said they were skimming and extra $500.00 to $600.00 dollars a day with their volume of sales. So a little tweak can add up to a pile of cash fast.
Owner claimed it was an honest mistake. :rolleyes:

steverice
03-01-2011, 10:31 PM
You guys, the answer is here.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzZNP4tTfV0

radkins
03-01-2011, 10:41 PM
Like I said that sort of thing does not happen often, quite rarely in fact, but as the incident you describe shows it does happen sometimes. It is just too easy to get caught and the penalties too high for many to risk it, not only are they subject to frequent spot checks by W&Ms but the records from the pumps had better match the records of the gasoline delivered by the supplier and these numbers are watched closely. They may not have a problem accounting for having more gas delivered than they sold, leakage, etc can account for that, but if the pumps show more gallons sold than the supplier delivered they are in big trouble! Honestly it is a big deal for the owner to keep his records straight and extremely difficult for a station to short-pump and get away with it and it is very rare indeed to get shorted at the gas pump, price gouged maybe but the gallons shown on the pump will match what is delivered.

Willy
03-01-2011, 11:57 PM
I am thinking Hydraulic with accumulator.


David you are definitely on to something here. The question remains though can it be done in a cost efficient manner by you and me.

This technology has been in various stage of development since the 60's, at least that I'm aware of.

The return on investment is becoming easier to come by of late due to higher operational costs associated with the operation of stop and go types of service inherent in delivery and garbage trucks. These types of operations are ideal for diesel/hydraulic accumulator hybrid vehicles.

Think about the number of repeated starts and stops for this type of service. The energy used to overcome the inertia to get a heavy garbage truck moving is only wasted in brake heat a hundred feet down the street.
If this energy could be recovered and stored it could be used to assist the vehicle in the next start cycle.

I still receive a number of trade publications from my years in the transportation industry and all of them have at times focused on the benefits of Eaton's Hydraulic Launch Assist. There are now numerous fleets around the country using this system and the numbers are showing some favorable results.

Have a look at these links, it may give you some food for thought.

By the way...good to see you're back.

http://www.hydraulicspneumatics.com/200/Issue/Article/False/84207/Issue

http://www.eaton.com/EatonCom/ProductsServices/Hybrid/SystemsOverview/HydraulicHLA/index.htm

J Tiers
03-01-2011, 11:59 PM
Weights and Measurements check on stations regularly and they never know when it is coming, any irregularities and the station can be fined big time! I simply can not believe a station would intentionally have their pump off that far because they would actually be facing criminal charges unless they could prove there was an unknown malfunction. This sort of thing is not at all common in spite of what some people think and for the most part gasoline dispensing is quite accurate, intentionally shorting gasoline sales is a serious offense and can land those responsible in jail and it is simply too easy to get caught to risk it.

One scheme that got busted a while back was to program the pump to fit the test.... Pump registered more gallons than it truly pumped, BUT for 5 gallons, it was right on dead accurate. More, or less, by enough to be out of the "safety band", and it was a cheater.

The station can also dump in water, the alcohol content will carry it.

I suspect that up north.... vehicle got normally 27 to 32 mpg.... filled up at Grand and Cleveland in St Paul, MN (station is no longer there), and drove east on 94. Car had zip for power, gas gage was visibly sinking. needed gas before I got to Madison, when normally I'd get past Janesville. Almost flat out of gas in the Dells.

So I got gas in the Dells, and got 29 mpg the rest of the trip, which pretty much knocks out mechanical failure.

Probably was water... it happens.

justanengineer
03-02-2011, 12:11 AM
I agree with turning in crooked businesses and try to do it whenever I see it myself.

Regarding higher efficiency vehicles, the ones that intrigue me the most are the generator driven electric vehicles. Its rather amazing how little power you need when you eliminate 99% of the driveline losses. I have personally seen these systems on everything from monster sized military trucks to bulldozers and they are a sight to behold. I wouldnt think it would be too difficult or expensive to build one yourself either.

knedvecki
03-02-2011, 12:24 AM
What about this? http://amazingsnews.blogspot.com/2010/01/new-single-seat-vw-car-for-600.html

radkins
03-02-2011, 01:47 AM
One scheme that got busted a while back was to program the pump to fit the test.... Pump registered more gallons than it truly pumped, BUT for 5 gallons, it was right on dead accurate. More, or less, by enough to be out of the "safety band", and it was a cheater.

The station can also dump in water, the alcohol content will carry it.

I suspect that up north.... vehicle got normally 27 to 32 mpg.... filled up at Grand and Cleveland in St Paul, MN (station is no longer there), and drove east on 94. Car had zip for power, gas gage was visibly sinking. needed gas before I got to Madison, when normally I'd get past Janesville. Almost flat out of gas in the Dells.

So I got gas in the Dells, and got 29 mpg the rest of the trip, which pretty much knocks out mechanical failure.

Probably was water... it happens.


Another thing to consider is the rate at which Alcohol is added it can be from zero to 20%. If you fill up at a station that sells 100% gasoline (getting harder to find these days) the mileage will be a great deal better than if the fill-up was 20% Alcohol. An example is a station about 10 miles from here that proclaims 100% gasoline and is usually 3 cents per gallon higher than the the two cut-rate places on the other side of the intersection. Those pumps are labeled "contains up to 20% Ethanol by volume" and the difference in mileage between the the "Real" gas and cut-rate stuff is noticeably better, but guess who sells more gas? :rolleyes: It's hard to make some understand that 100% gasoline is usually going to be cheaper even if it does cost a few cents more.


Another thing that is common is people trying to drain the gas hose after shutting off the pump, folks that one don't work either-that is unless it is a very old pump. Once the pump is shut off the fill nozzle will not open when the lever is pulled since it takes a few PSI in the hose or nothing will happen, still if you watch you will see people lifting the hose and holding the nozzle lever open after the pump shuts off thinking they are getting whats left in the hose.


One thing I can't help but wonder about however is those single hose delivery systems, how much regular grade does a person get if he/she buys premium (almost always a waste anyway) and the last person to use the pump bought regular? :confused: Since they are paying 20 to 25 cents or so more for the premium they will get burned pretty good (percentage-wise) if they buy only a few gallons.

radkins
03-02-2011, 01:53 AM
One scheme that got busted a while back was to program the pump to fit the test.... Pump registered more gallons than it truly pumped, BUT for 5 gallons, it was right on dead accurate. More, or less, by enough to be out of the "safety band", and it was a cheater.



Probably got busted because of supplier records, in order to make any money there would be a huge discrepancy between what the supplier delivered and the amount (supposedly) sold. There is a heck of a lot more going on to keep these people honest than just the spot pump checks, it is kind of hard to explain selling 10% or so more gallons than were delivered. :)

radkins
03-02-2011, 02:03 AM
I have personally seen these systems on everything from monster sized military trucks to bulldozers and they are a sight to behold. I wouldnt think it would be too difficult or expensive to build one yourself either.



Are you talking about diesel/electric drives? I worked with those things for years in mining equipment all the way up to 240 ton rock trucks but I fail to see the highway application of that particular system. Actually the Hybrids that have already been available for the last few years are a much more sophisticated version of that principle and because of the computer controls they are somewhat more fuel efficient than standard mechanical drives, the same can not be said for the industrial diesel/electric drives which lack the battery storage of the hybrids. These are more to simplify the drive system on such huge and heavily loaded vehicles and they are quite wasteful from a fuel standpoint, not horribly so but certainly not better than direct mechanical drive..

Dawai
03-02-2011, 07:00 AM
Yeah, probably only happens to hillbillies..

My ex.. she had a cheat, she'd reset the pump to .10 a gallon and fill up her car.. she got fired. She had been doing it for two years. She was a manager. She also cheated on me. (rich guy who owned a car dealership)

Local station about a year back, during the last price gouge, was charging $5. a gallon. THEY had to reset the pumps and "pay" back to the community. I still don't buy gas there.

Who actually owns and runs the stations? If they went back and fined the "supplier" and true owner I see it never happening with shortchanging fuel. If they "fine" the acting manager.. well.. did I mention meth addiction here is about 10% or more, them people don't care. THE EX? for all I know, she had a addiction too, she lived on coffee and cigarettes. She sure was skinny and cute. She did like working lots of hours.

Hydraulics.. a good way to propel a vehicle. The concept I mentioned would not work unless it had a motor-pump per wheel. 70% of braking is on the front, recapturing the inertia into energy on slick media, rain, snow.. or... would have to be a all-wheel method.

We have good engineers in America to build better cars and methods.. it is just the STUPID public requires a huge land Yacht with all the recliner-human comfort features possible instead of being humble driving a small-cheap-economical machine. When the cheap fuel runs out, change will come.

radkins
03-02-2011, 09:23 AM
Local station about a year back, during the last price gouge, was charging $5. a gallon. THEY had to reset the pumps and "pay" back to the community. I still don't buy gas there.



Who actually owns and runs the stations? If they went back and fined the "supplier" and true owner I see it never happening with shortchanging fuel.


Cheating on the price is a lot different than shortchanging on the fuel and shortchanging just don,t happen, at least not intentionally it just don't make sense. There are too many levels of protection against that sort of thing and they simply could not get away with it, at least not at a level that would make them any money. Think about it, those pumps are certified and checked regularly so there is no way to tamper with the setting without leaving evidence of doing so and doing it is a criminal offense that can (would!) land them in jail! Even if the owner could find a way to get around the pump calibration there are still his other records, maybe a person could get away with a very small rip-off although I don't know how he could get around the pump calibration without getting caught at the next inspection, but in order to make any money of any consequence his books would simply be too unbalanced. For instance trying to skim just the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon would require an additional 10,000 gallons in "phantom" sales to net him $1,000 so how could he hide a discrepancy like that? The answer is simple, he couldn't! The delivery records from the supplier and his pump records are both checked and if he is selling more gas than he is having delivered then he is in big trouble!

People are p!ssed about the price of gas and want to blame someone and the thing about accusing stations of short-selling gas is an old one but in spite of what some might want to believe it just don't intentionally happen, or if it does it is extremely rare! Too many safeguards in place and the penalties are far too great for them to do it on a small "penny ante" scale and just no way to do it on a large scale without being obvious because of supply records. I know some some people will insist this goes on all the time but that simply is not true because in order to make enough money to risk jail it would just simply require too many hurdles and the numbers are just too big to hide, the amounts delivered vs the amounts sold simply can not be hidden.

JoeLee
03-02-2011, 09:39 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rb_rDkwGnU

Perhaps you could nake your car run on water like this guy did !

Lets see how fast big oil squashes this guys idea.

JL...................

J Tiers
03-02-2011, 09:42 AM
Radkins:

1) 20% ethanol wouldn't explain it...... 85% might start to. When a particular tank of gas gives 40% or so of the mileage that the ones before and after do, it takes more than that. Even virtually pure alcohol can't explain that difference very well, the heat content per unit volume is different but IIRC not THAT different.

2) Not making money? Supplier records? 10%? You are fooling yourself, I think.

First, to get audited, a problem has to be suspected. If the measured calibration is always correct, as I mentioned the programming cheat did provide for, then there won't be an official suspicion, and no investigation will occur.

Second, supplier records are reasonably accurate, but not perfect. It may take a substantial discrepancy to show up "flags".

Third, the profit margin is thin on gasoline, so it takes a relatively small amount of cheating to turn a loss into a profit. Supplier records may not be accurate enough to show up a 1% or even 2% difference.

However, you are correct that engine-electric drive is less efficient..... unless done as per a hybrid, where the engine is not running some of the time. There are losses in the electric drive, which probably exceed those of a gearbox.

While hydraulic and air are horribly inefficient, if they are using waste energy otherwise wasted as heat, its still probably (but not absolutely) a gain overall.

vpt
03-02-2011, 10:07 AM
A few years ago I filled up one of our work trucks at a kwik trip by Milwaukee WI. The truck has two tanks, front tank is a 19 gallon and the rear is a 18 gallon tank. I only needed the one tank so I filled up the rear tank (the one I was running at the time). The tank took 21 gallons to fill up. I mentioned it to the clerk and she says they have their pumps checked all the time but she would pass it on to her manager.


but as far as getting good mileage? Have a looky at this: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/diy-modified-honda-crx-hf-118-mpg-chang-ho-kim.php

Dawai
03-02-2011, 12:17 PM
Gasoline is sold by volume. I saw seven gallons go into a five gallon container. I did complain, the cashier rolled her eyes. I may video the next purchase of fuel into a container. Drama? That'd play well on the local television station.

Had someone forecast fuel prices will hit $4 a gallon this week. He is taking a job in South Carolina Friday, he filled both tanks on his work truck this morning.

J. R. Williams
03-02-2011, 12:43 PM
A big problem with using alcohol in gasoline is the energy content of the two fuels is different. Gasoline has about 118,000 BTU/Gal while alcohol has around 60,000 BTU/GAL. Do your own math. The shortage at the pumps is another serious item.
JRW

Alistair Hosie
03-02-2011, 01:22 PM
David they are theives bastards report them as advised.Alistair
I put my last car in for it's first service just before I did so I was told that it needed a part that they did not have in they gave me a replacement car and I was told to come back that evening. I did so and found my car had added two hundred miles to the clock and was short of petrol by about half they denied it saying I must have calculated wrong.what could I do.I didn't go back there thats for sure.Dirty devils.Alistair ps nice to see you back dave keep well brother

ckelloug
03-02-2011, 01:39 PM
When I was doing research on fuel economy, I researched how the pumps work. On any recent pump, as far as I know it is a positive displacement pump with temperature compensation built into it. This should be equivalent to mass flow.

It should be quite accurate if nobody is intentionally rigging it. That being said, a little change of the firmware on the computer and bingo, you've got a devious pump.

justanengineer
03-02-2011, 01:44 PM
radkins - That is exactly what I was referring to. Its a concept thats been around for almost 100 years since LeTourneau's early days. Not sure what youve been using, but it is highly efficient, which is why Cat's new D7E dozer saves 20% conservatively on fuel over the standard diesel version. When I was in the Army still, there were a lot of experiments going on due to the efficiency of these systems in trucks, and the only real problem was in durability in extreme climates, which is a killer for military anything. BMW and Audi are both developing these pure electric hybrid systems for cars now too, which is why I find it interesting. Gas/electric hybrid like a Prius?...not for me thanks, I know better.

kendall
03-02-2011, 02:29 PM
A while back after smacking a rock, I had to change the 23 gallon fuel tank in my truck. Got the new tank, installed it, put 2 gallons in it and drove to the station a couple blocks away, where I put just over 21 gallons in, perfectly acceptable.

A while later had to go to Indiana for work,gauge had just hit 1/8 tank so I pulled into a gas station and filled up, managed to pump in 24 gallons.
My truck has always had about 3 1/2 gallons left when the gauge reads empty, or roughly 100 miles.
When I brought it up to the manager/owner, his argument was that I had misread the gauge and that the pumps are checked all the time. He couldn't seem to grasp the fact that there was no way to put 24 gallons into an empty 23 gallon tank, let alone a 23 gallon tank with at least 5 gallons in it already.
Next time I was in the area, the station was shut down though.

Alcohol is a bad idea in gasoline, really hate the mileage hit I get from it. On the rare occasions I can find pure gasoline, I get much better mileage and more power.

Incidentally if you have something that simply hates alcohol in the fuel, put gas in a can, throw in some water and let it sit for a while, the alcohol and water will mix, then you can siphon or filter out the water and have real gasoline. Don't know how cost effective it would be, but my old ironhead runs much better and starts easier on pure gasoline.

Willy
03-02-2011, 02:32 PM
I've seen the Caterpillar D7E, a very impressive machine.
But like my previous post about Eaton's Hydraulic Launch Assist (HLA) it covers a very narrow market application.

The HLA system is focused on an application with repeated starts and stops. Eaton claims they can recover up to 70% of the energy required to stop the vehicle and use it to assist the next start cycle as well as the savings due to reduced brake system maintenance.

Caterpillar has focused it's efforts at reducing fuel consumption on dozers with a system dedicated towards the eliminating some of the inefficiencies on conventional machines. All systems on the D7E are electric drive. Water and hydraulic pumps, fans, A/C are all on demand operations which contribute to the overall system efficiency.
The big contributor is of course the generator/electric drive. Because of fewer components in the system, like the powershift transmission and torque converter, Caterpillar was also able to use an engines with less power. One that is optimized to operate over a very narrow powerband, 1500-1800 rpm.

Great for this application but not directly applicable to passenger car use.
The technologies showcased in these different fields do have spinoff effects though that can be utilized in other applications.

Alistair Hosie
03-02-2011, 02:35 PM
David the first time I went to the states gas was under a dollar for a gallon that was a while back.Each time I went back I witnessed it slowly increase.But you guys still have it easy peezy compared with us here in the UK much easier.Alistair

goose
03-02-2011, 02:47 PM
I don't think gas tanks are rated exactly at their volume capacity, rather auto manufacturers give a "nominal" rating, so there may well be additional space in the tank, thereby allowing 56 lbs of poop in a 50 lb bag syndrome. Also, auto-cutoffs may vary from pump to pump, (just a guess on my part) But I do know that by pulsing the handle I can often get another gallon into the tank after the pump shut offs. There's also space in the fill tube, depending on vehicle that could be a fair amount.

In a nutshell, I think there are too many variables to prove or disprove tampering with gas pumps just by one's experiences and guesstimates pumping gas. You'd have to pump gas into a graduated cylinder to get an accurate reading.

Not to say it doesn't or never happens. I myself don't look at the dam pump, somethings you take on faith - gas pumps and hotdogs, for instance.



Gary

radkins
03-02-2011, 03:29 PM
Radkins:

1) 20% ethanol wouldn't explain it...... 85% might start to. When a particular tank of gas gives 40% or so of the mileage that the ones before and after do, it takes more than that. Even virtually pure alcohol can't explain that difference very well, the heat content per unit volume is different but IIRC not THAT different.



With the Ethanol I was just talking about one possible reason for general mileage differences between different stations and I was not referring to your case in particular, obviously there was more going on there than just the Ethanol. I seriously doubt the station owner had anything to do with it, water possibly could be the culprit because that could seriously reduce the mileage but the volume of the water contained would not be enough to make it profitable for the station owner to actually be adding water. Water suspended in Alcohol and mixed with gasoline can degrade performance disproportionally to the volume of the gasoline it replaces.


Not making money? Supplier records? 10%? You are fooling yourself, I think.

First, to get audited, a problem has to be suspected. If the measured calibration is always correct, as I mentioned the programming cheat did provide for, then there won't be an official suspicion, and no investigation will occur.

Second, supplier records are reasonably accurate, but not perfect. It may take a substantial discrepancy to show up "flags".

Third, the profit margin is thin on gasoline, so it takes a relatively small amount of cheating to turn a loss into a profit. Supplier records may not be accurate enough to show up a 1% or even 2% difference.


No I am not either, I am painfully aware of the profit margin but it is no longer a problem for me, my sister however is still managing a meager profit from the place. As far as getting audited it is a lot easier than you obviously think and those supplier records would indeed "flash a red flag" before any significant "extra" profit would be realized.

Fellows believe what you like, and I am sure few who do believe the fuel-shorting stories will be convinced, but short-pumping fuel is very difficult to hide if done in amounts that really mean anything. Changing the price on a pump is easy and is sometimes done everyday but changing the calibration is not easy, almost no way to do it without leaving evidence of tampering and tampering is a serious criminal offense! Also if my analogy of skimming the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon is reduced to even 1 cent that still means 100 gallons of "phantom" sales to make an extra dollar, is that worth risking severe fines or even jail for? While reducing the illegal "profit" by that much would spread the evidence quite thin it also would make any "profits" realized quite thin also and supplier/sales discrepancies even in that range most certainly is enough to get caught. If we were only dealing with a few hundred gallons it might be easy to hide a few gallons but with the volume required to make even a legal profit trying to skim just a small "extra" profit requires huge number differences that are easy to catch.

Believe what you like but this sort of thing is not easy to do without getting caught and penalties for doing so are severe so short-pumping is very rare and rarely intentional, it just ain't worth the risk!

radkins
03-02-2011, 03:37 PM
A few years ago I filled up one of our work trucks at a kwik trip by Milwaukee WI. The truck has two tanks, front tank is a 19 gallon and the rear is a 18 gallon tank. I only needed the one tank so I filled up the rear tank (the one I was running at the time). The tank took 21 gallons to fill up.


That does not mean much, vehicle fuel tank capacities are nowhere near accurate and the numbers you give are about average. Almost any fuel tank will take more than the stated capacity to fill. Also plastic fuel containers are not accurate either and if a person uses a calibrated container the fuel will dispense as it is supposed to, it had better because those snoopy agents with the calibrated cans drop in all the time when you least expect it! :mad:

vpt
03-02-2011, 03:41 PM
That does not mean much, vehicle fuel tank capacities are nowhere near accurate and the numbers you give are about average. Almost any fuel tank will take more than the stated capacity to fill. Also plastic fuel containers are not accurate either and if a person uses a calibrated container the fuel will dispense as it is supposed to, it had better because those snoopy agents with the calibrated cans drop in all the time when you least expect it! :mad:



I agree, however I install these tanks all the time on these trucks due to rust and they get filled at the station across the street so we know right off the bat what they hold. In our gas trucks we run the tanks dry and then switch over on the fly so time and time again we fill these tanks from dry so we know exactly what our tanks should hold.

radkins
03-02-2011, 03:41 PM
Gasoline is sold by volume. I saw seven gallons go into a five gallon container. I did complain, the cashier rolled her eyes


There's a good reason she did, she hears it all the time! People do complain about this but almost always for no good reason. Take that "5 gallon" container and put a true measured 5 gallons in it and I think you will be surprised!

radkins
03-02-2011, 03:51 PM
In a nutshell, I think there are too many variables to prove or disprove tampering with gas pumps just by one's experiences and guesstimates pumping gas. You'd have to pump gas into a graduated cylinder to get an accurate reading.Gary


Absolutely and if the people who believe the short-pumping stories would do so they would not be so quick to accuse. Fellows this is a highly controlled business and the people who do the checks and write the citations are not to be messed with! This is almost as bad as dealing with the IRS and in some ways worse! Take a look at those little numbers on the meter that MUST be recorded every day, those numbers are a certified measurement and tampering with that device is serious business that could easily land them in jail so not many people are going to take that kind of chance.

Black_Moons
03-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Well, Before you consider that people would'nt risk jailtime for $20 worth of profit....

Realise that gas station attendants have been *killed* trying to stop someone from gas-n-go'ing with.. $20 worth of gas.
Thats Right, someone killed a man when he trys to stop him from stealing $20.

Crazy people will do ANYTHING. A waiter recently got run over and his arm broken.. Trying to stop someone with children from dine-n-dashing.. with a $7 bill!

That said, Lots of gas stations do not make ANYTHING off the pumps. (at least, here in canada) They make thier profit exclusively from all the crap they sell inside the store.
Meaning its not boosting profit from 10c a gallon to 11c a gallon, but from 0c a gallon to 1c a gallon when they cheat the pumps. And gas stations pump thousands of gallons a day. (Intrestingly, The gas station WAS responsable for any gas stolen however... Hence why BC is now 100% prepay, Due to stupid people running over gas station attendants and such)

The standard proceedure for checking how much gas is in the stations tanks is... a long ass stick. Not exactly 100% accurate.
And the owner could allways pump gas outta the tanks himself into his own car to balance the books (Via a seperate pump inserted into the unmetered filling tube into the tanks)
No screens or other blocking material in that tube, as thats where they put the stick to measure the tanks... Just a locked cap on it. And guess who has the keys? Right, the gas station owner.

snowman
03-02-2011, 04:16 PM
Changing the price on a pump is easy and is sometimes done everyday but changing the calibration is not easy, almost no way to do it without leaving evidence of tampering and tampering is a serious criminal offense! Also if my analogy of skimming the equivalent of 10 cents per gallon is reduced to even 1 cent that still means 100 gallons of "phantom" sales to make an extra dollar, is that worth risking severe fines or even jail for?

However people are indicted for it all the time. (at least in Michigan) Which would imply that it's more common than one may think. That may only be a dollar, but when I go to the gas station I'm usually one of six people there at the time....each filling up their vehicles. hey look, an extra dollar.

Now rinse and repeat every twenty minutes of every day...those extra dollars add up.

Willy
03-02-2011, 04:43 PM
Why bother cheating, just raise the price one or two cents /gal.

The public has become so desensitized to price changes on an almost daily/ weekly basis that the majority of the motoring public doesn't even bother looking at the price anymore.

Between government taxes and speculator gouging most just pull up to the pumps and bend over.:rolleyes:

JoeLee
03-02-2011, 04:51 PM
Back to the original post.............. Just wondering if there was an up to date inspection sticker on the pump where you got the gas from??? Around here the county weights and measures dept. inspects and tests the pumps on a yearly basis to ensure the consumer isn't getting ripped. Off by a couple oz. not a huge deal, but off by gallons !!!!! real big deal.

JL........................

radkins
03-02-2011, 05:05 PM
The standard proceedure for checking how much gas is in the stations tanks is... a long ass stick. Not exactly 100% accurate.
And the owner could allways pump gas outta the tanks himself into his own car to balance the books (Via a seperate pump inserted into the unmetered filling tube into the tanks)
No screens or other blocking material in that tube, as thats where they put the stick to measure the tanks... Just a locked cap on it. And guess who has the keys? Right, the gas station owner.



This kind of BS thinking is exactly why this myth persists, that pole the truck driver uses gives an estimate of how much gas is still in each tank and is NOT in any way the method by which gasoline delivery records are kept! :rolleyes: Also that line about the owner pumping gas into his own car to hide the discrepancies is simply ridiculous, the owner would have to account for thousands of "phantom" gallons in order to make any illegal profit.


Snowman, you said it-INDICTED! That is exactly what would happen to any station owner who tries to do this, I don't know how often it happens in Michigan but as easy as it is to get caught I can't imagine it happening very often. The bottom line is the calibration on the pumps is NOT easy to manipulate in spite of what some might think, the first thing those inspection agents check when they show up is to see if the calibration has been tampered with and the S#at WILL hit the fan if it has been! It is all but impossible to tamper with this device without leaving tell-tale evidence and doing so is a very serious offense, that along with other required record keeping plus the spot checks all but insures this will not happen. Like I said most who believe the short-pumping stories will not be convinced but they can b!^(# and grip all they want it still rarely happens and even less often is intentional!


People those inspection guys are not stupid! They can tell easily when a pump has been tampered with and it is their job to catch the cheats and they are damn good at it, they have seen every trick in the book! Like I said before if you run afoul of these guys they can make the IRS seem friendly! I have no doubt that somewhere and sometimes someone will try to pull this stunt but in spite of what some are saying it does not happen often at all and those that do attempt it will get caught in short order.

radkins
03-02-2011, 05:14 PM
weights and measures dept. inspects and tests the pumps on a yearly basis to ensure the consumer isn't getting ripped. Off by a couple oz. not a huge deal, but off by gallons !!!!! real big deal.JL........................


It's the spot checks, delivery records and their books that keep them honest. If the inspector finds a discrepancy of a few ounces or so it's no big deal unless the next inspection shows repairs have not been made, HOWEVER if the pump calibration has been tampered with and that's what it takes in order to cheat then that is a whole new story! If it was just a matter of the friendly local inspector coming out to check the pumps once a year or so like maybe checking the fire extinguisher then it might be easy to cheat but it's not that simple.

PeteF
03-02-2011, 05:23 PM
I was quite amazed upon reading this story and it would be interesting to see if it's a widespread as claimed.

With regards the measuring of gasoline, I'm not sure why you'd have temperature compensation. It's a liquid you purchase by the volume, where I live by the litre, where most here live, in US gallons. No temperature compensation is required; a gallon is always a gallon, a litre is always a litre. In contrast, when I put fuel in the aircraft it's ordered by WEIGHT, for example 80.5 tonnes was my last fuel order. They still pump by volume, but very accurately measure the specific gravity (weight/volume) of the fuel and automatically adjust the volume of fuel pumped to achieve the desired fuel weight upload. Very different to an automotive situation where cold fuel (ie higher SG) will effectively give you "more bang for your buck".

As far as the original question, I'd suggest the biggest influence on fuel economy is the person in the front. Not only in driving style, but also in the type of vehicle they choose to drive. A lot of that is simply a cultural pre-conditioning to what is a "normal" size vehicle to drive. With all due respect, despite the amount of time I've spent in the US over the years, every time I arrive there I'm still somewhat taken back by the size of the vehicles considered "normal". With historically relatively low fuel prices it seems it's considered perfectly acceptable to roar around by yourself in a large V8 "truck", nothing in the back, nobody else in the car, that's just your everyday "driver". Not only that, but the engine technology used in them is laughable; basically 1940's engine technology. I literally laugh when I see billboards boasting about a vehicle getting 28 mpg. Contrast that to places like Europe, where fuel has pretty much always been relatively expensive and you will virtually never see private individuals owning large "trucks" (yet they seem to get on just fine in life without one), and the engine technology is light years ahead of the crap pushed out of Detroit. Just as an example, I drove a European 2 litre turbo-diesel wagon up to Denmark from Frankfurt. After 1000 km I decided I'd add fuel (it was far from empty). I was mostly driving around 200 kph while in Germany and added 60 litres of fuel. I probably could have made the extra 200 km to get home on the one tank!! The vehicle could easily seat 5 with plenty of room in the back for luggage. Gee I just can't understand why the US motor companies are all going bankrupt :rolleyes:

Just my perspective ... for the record I own a "truck" (though not American, unremarkably enough, and the 4.0 l Toyota engine gets almost as good milage as my older 2.0l Alfa!!!). Sadly I couldn't get the smaller engine in an Auto; the "bigger is better" disease is alive and well here in Australia too!

Pete

DougC_582
03-02-2011, 06:12 PM
I worked at a gas station years ago. In the USA, it is true that the criminal penalties for gas stations shorting their pumps are big. The place I worked at never did it, but it still does happen. If you're just an ordinary slob, you cannot tell a gas pump is tampered with just by looking at it. They replace the circuit board inside the pump, and have fake inspection stickers and everything. The usual testing amounts are one and five gallons though, so if you want to be sure you're getting the right amount, just buy your gas five gallons at a time.

------

As far as high-efficiency vehicles go, I've never seen anything that said that diesel-electric drives were particularly fuel-efficient. They are mainly used for applications that need extremely high torque at very low RPMs.


Hydraulic motor setups are very convenient to design and build (it's easier to run hydraulic lines than driveshafts) but are also limited to fairly-low RPMs, since they suffer much-higher internal fluid drag when run at faster speeds.


Have you considered a cross-head engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosshead)? These are otherwise-normal piston engines that use a connecting rod with a joint in the middle. This results in drastically lower RPMs but the value of this is that the stroke can be greatly increased, boosting thermal efficiency. A typical piston engine can't usually have a stroke more than about 1.1 times its' bore, but a cross-head engine can easily have a stroke that is 4 to 6 times the bore (or even greater).

All large (ship) marine piston engines are built this way and they have a thermal efficiency that is roughly double what a typical car engine achieves--though the ships are almost always diesels. They require no special materials or tools beyond what you'd need to build a regular piston engine and their low-RPMs even simplifies many issues.

I have looked in the past and not ever found small engines built of this type at all, which I find odd when you consider how popular Listeroid engines are for their efficiency.

I plan to (attempt to) build a small one for a motorized bicycle eventually.

kendall
03-02-2011, 06:14 PM
As for whether tank shape size etc allows it to hold more or less gas than stated, they are not flexible tanks, so if you -know- it holds 23 gallons, and one gas station somehow allows you to pump in 24 gallons when it already has 5 gallons in it, something is wrong.

If you -know- you get 25mpg, and your tank holds 10 gallons so you can drive 250 miles on a full tank, But you go to one station and tank capacity suddenly expands by 2 gallons and you still can only drive 250 miles, it is not your tank holding more that allows the extra 2 gallons, it's something in the way it's measured. If it held 20% more, and I got 20% farther down the road, I'd say huh, and start looking to see what happened to increase capacity. But with the 'extra' capacity without the corresponding increase in distance, I stop going to that station.

I know my cars, trucks, and bikes. When I fill my tank on a trip, I fill them to the very top. keep pumping till it shuts off, let it settle a bit, then pump some more, and keep doing it till it's at the top of the filler.
I prefer doing my distance driving at night, and dislike freeway driving, so never really know how far the next fuel stop is. Knowing how much gas my tank holds and how far I can go on it is important to me.

Agree many times it is just a lack of knowledge, or simple outright error. Gas cans are a good example, most don't have graduations, just a stated capacity so if it says 5 gallons, it's normal to assume 5 gallons is when it's full, not a few inches down the side.

radkins
03-02-2011, 07:08 PM
One way a person can get shorted at a gas station is if the tank is nearly empty and the pump is surging while pumping gas into the vehicle, if this starts happening stop pumping and go to another station. A pump might have an occasional "burp" when it first starts but that is not much of a problem, sucking air and surging will wreak havoc with that meter however and calibration will be compromised.

Dawai
03-02-2011, 07:38 PM
Why bother cheating, just raise the price one or two cents /gal.

The public has become so desensitized to price changes on an almost daily/ weekly basis that the majority of the motoring public doesn't even bother looking at the price anymore.
Yeah.. Watching the prices go across the state.. jumped .35 in the last two days here. Seems it starts in the eastern part of my state and like a wildfire comes toward me.

Right now, I am tending to agree with the $4 a gallon by Sunday..

OUR car is getting better mileage with a different station. I poured a gallon from the seven in the five gallon can into the John Deere.. heart break? it has a fuel leak above the shut off.. Cheating myself.. I took it loose and taped the thread last week.. no clue, except I'll have to put the reading glasses on next time I work on it. I could have poured in the whole gas can thou before I noticed.

http://www.dieselduck.ca/machine/01%20prime%20movers/diesel_engine/modified.ani.sulzer.gif

Gravy
03-02-2011, 10:36 PM
Just a note from the other end of the gas station spectrum:

There have been several dismissive comments in this thread about leakage from the gas stations storage tanks. This may not be as trivial as you may think.

I've spent over 10 years in the groundwater cleanup field. I am constantly amazed at the amount of motor fuel leakage that some retailers consider acceptable. It's particularly bizarre because stopping the leaks would cost them a small fraction of what it costs to clean it up.

In a market with a markup in the low single digits, I find this attitude remarkably shortsighted. Still, it might explain some of the discrepancies - the miscalibrated pumps might come close to balancing out the leaks.

Cheeseking
03-02-2011, 10:56 PM
Radkins I could not agree more with your take on the cheating. You are playing whack a mole responding to folks who never ran a business (well)

I found this website that lists stations that still sell pure gasoline. http://pure-gas.org/

J Tiers
03-02-2011, 11:40 PM
The standard proceedure for checking how much gas is in the stations tanks is... a long ass stick. Not exactly 100% accurate.


I hope you don't suppose that is the standard CALIBRATED procedure...... It may be how they tell easily what sort of quantity they have, "lots", or "better make the call".

Radkins is correct that sales vs purchases will tell the story. That's how you catch money laundering operations, like bars....

OTOH, people are not smart..... even business operators. They may try it anyway. Just because a gas station owner gets caught eventually does not mean that magically he didn't cheat anyone but just the one person.

Most likely cheating went on for weeks or months before that. Thousands of customers.

Adding up quantities? maybe..... or maybe they "sold a lot of candy bars", or potato chips..... cash sales of gas might end up in some other category, so the numbers add up OK....

Obviously people try it on. Nobody ever said they get away with it forever. People have meth labs in their house, under the kids bedroom too, and every year people literally try to get away with premeditated murder schemes. (Case in point, Chris Coleman, in Illinois.....) They generally don't get away with their crimes either, long term, but there's always a new one trying it on.

You CAN try to cheat the pump, so OF COURSE people make the attempt..... people are real stinkers, actually.....;)

gary350
03-02-2011, 11:52 PM
I have leaned how to double my gas mileage. I turn the engine off at every traffic light. I have 16 traffic lights between my house and work. For 2 weeks I timed how much time is spent parked at traffic lights. I spend 49.6% of my time parked. I use to fill up once a week now I only fill up every other week. It pretty much doubled my gas mileage. I do the same thing driving around town on my time off work I turn the engine off at every traffic light.

Bill736
03-03-2011, 12:06 AM
Back in the 1970s, it was easy to retune an engine for better gas mileage.
Nowdays, not so easy. Midsized cars in 1973 were getting 12 to 15 mpg. The same size vehicle nowdays is getting 20 to 24 mpg. If you want to know what technology works best for passenger cars, just look at what the Toyota Prius or Chevy Volt have done . 50 to 60 mpg is expected , and the Volt has a limited range all electric mode. That being said, I don't anticipate going out and buying either car. I keep my expenses down by not buying expensive new vehicles, and not driving as much . I don't plan to ever have to buy a new battery pack for a second hand hybrid either. I take good care of my vehicles, and do my own servicing and repairs. Not many home mechanics will be able to service their Prius if something serious goes wrong. The insurance costs on my older vehicles are low . My point is that there are many ways to keep your vehicle related expenses down without spending big bucks on new fuel efficient cars.

PeteF
03-03-2011, 12:32 AM
Bill, 24 mpg is still pretty crap milage in any language. The car I mentioned above was a Renault Luguna and was gets 60 mpg (imperial gallon), which I believe is almost 50 mpg to the US gallon, let's be conservative and say 45 mpg. No hybrid, nothing fancy, nothing special, just using available engine technology. Indeed that particular example has probably been on the market for 10 years(?) Not only that, but my experience was it was getting almost that milage at 200 kph (120 mph). Outside of the US, I'd consider anything under 30 miles per US gallon simply embarrassing.

Bill736
03-03-2011, 01:29 AM
Back in the 1970s, it was easy to retune an engine for better gas mileage.
Nowdays, not so easy. Midsized cars in 1973 were getting 12 to 15 mpg. The same size vehicle nowdays is getting 20 to 24 mpg. If you want to know what technology works best for passenger cars, just look at what the Toyota Prius or Chevy Volt have done . 50 to 60 mpg is expected , and the Volt has a limited range all electric mode. That being said, I don't anticipate going out and buying either car. I keep my expenses down by not buying expensive new vehicles, and not driving as much . I don't plan to ever have to buy a new battery pack for a second hand hybrid either. I take good care of my vehicles, and do my own servicing and repairs. Not many home mechanics will be able to service their Prius if something serious goes wrong. The insurance costs on my older vehicles are low . My point is that there are many ways to keep your vehicle related expenses down without spending big bucks on new fuel efficient cars.

J. Randall
03-03-2011, 04:27 AM
Bill, 24 mpg is still pretty crap milage in any language. The car I mentioned above was a Renault Luguna and was gets 60 mpg (imperial gallon), which I believe is almost 50 mpg to the US gallon, let's be conservative and say 45 mpg. No hybrid, nothing fancy, nothing special, just using available engine technology. Indeed that particular example has probably been on the market for 10 years(?) Not only that, but my experience was it was getting almost that milage at 200 kph (120 mph). Outside of the US, I'd consider anything under 30 miles per US gallon simply embarrassing.
Pete, how stiff are your emissions regulations over there. I have a pet theory that if they would back some of ours off over here we would see better mileages. We have fancy stuff,hanging all over ours over here mandated by the gov. If you shipped yours over here, would it even be legal to drive here?
Just wondering.
James

PeteF
03-03-2011, 04:53 AM
James, I'm afraid I can't answer your question with regards Australia, I believe it's currently Euro 4. However I do know the emission standards in Europe (where the vehicles I'm talking about are from) are extremely tough. Furthermore, perhaps you can clarify my understanding, but I thought vehicles considered "trucks" (of which there are a disproportionate number being used for private transportation in the US), are under a different set of rules with regards emission control requirements than passenger cars in the US?

Edit: Yesterday I went to get in my car at the hotel. Next to me parks an absurd sized truck and out pops its sole occupant to stay at the hotel. I've never noticed what make they are, but seem to recall it had "2500" on the side. They are VERY long though, don't fit in a normal car park and really need two parks length ways. Are you going to suggest that vehicle is relatively economical compared to a passenger car due to emission control standards?

DougC_582
03-03-2011, 08:54 AM
Just a note from the other end of the gas station spectrum:

There have been several dismissive comments in this thread about leakage from the gas stations storage tanks. This may not be as trivial as you may think.

I've spent over 10 years in the groundwater cleanup field. I am constantly amazed at the amount of motor fuel leakage that some retailers consider acceptable. It's particularly bizarre because stopping the leaks would cost them a small fraction of what it costs to clean it up....
If the tanks were above ground they would be easy to fix. Below ground, not so cheap or easy.

I'm not gonna argue that underground storage tank leaks aren't bad, they are,,, but the few times I've seen local gas station sites cleaned up, the tanks were removed--and then all the dirt was removed for about thirty feet straight down, and also maybe twenty feet horizontally in every direction from where the tanks had been. Most of the time it was done after the gas stations went out of business anyway. I have no idea who had to pay for all that trouble, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't entirely the [former] gas station owner.

------

I also do not find the current crop of hybrid cars to be very impressive in engineering terms. The Geo Metro almost equaled those MPG numbers years before, with lightweight construction and a plain-old ordinary gas engine that cost a HECK of a lot less money to build, buy and maintain. The long-term durability of hybrid cars systems as well as the problems with manufacturing and disposing of huge numbers of batteries are still not known.

A better solution IMO would be to allow another class of cars. These would be limited to lighter-weights, with lower crash standards but also limited to smaller engines (say 2 liters or less, with no forced induction).

Also the gov needs to stop requiring putting alcohol in the gasoline, it causes way more problems than it solves.

radkins
03-03-2011, 08:55 AM
Most likely cheating went on for weeks or months before that. Thousands of customers.


You CAN try to cheat the pump, so OF COURSE people make the attempt..... people are real stinkers, actually.....;)



Yes they certainly do try it sometimes and as the post about the Michigan indictments points out they do get caught. I have agreed all along that sometimes it does happen but it is actually extremely rare while some people would have us believe every other station we pull into is going to be a rip-off. Cheating could conceivably be done one of two ways but both would be caught quickly. One way would be to attempt to cheat a few ounces at a time to make an illegal "profit" over time, the few cents per gallon equivalent I mentioned before, and this would be the least noticeable but there are still major problems with trying to do that. The second would be what some are trying to say is happening here such as buying 7 gallons and only actually getting 5 gallons, that is ridiculous and the station would probably not last the day out! Obviously if a station could "sell" just a few "extra" gallons a day then the "profit" would be the price per gallon x the number of gallons "sold" but that kind of discrepancy would set off all kinds of warnings!


Besides all the other things we have been talking about with supplier records, etc the pump calibration is a serious hurdle to overcome for the cheat. It seems that some people seem to think all the operator has to do is a simple adjustment of the pump but it does not work that way, that calibration is NOT simple to tamper with and is subject to inspection at all times. This alone will insure that by far most stations will be within the calibration range and cheating like this is extremely rare.

derekm
03-03-2011, 09:28 AM
the secret to high mileage is low mass and low resistance air and rolling.

Get rid of two of the wheels and 2000Kg of weight and add a low streamlined body, thats narrow enough not to get stuck in jams

my bike does 50mpg at 90mph with bad aerodynamic drag. outrageous acceleration doesnt impact the mileage much.

The total carbon impact of low weight vehicles is significantly smaller

J Tiers
03-03-2011, 09:50 AM
Edit: Yesterday I went to get in my car at the hotel. Next to me parks an absurd sized truck and out pops its sole occupant to stay at the hotel. I've never noticed what make they are, but seem to recall it had "2500" on the side. They are VERY long though, don't fit in a normal car park and really need two parks length ways. Are you going to suggest that vehicle is relatively economical compared to a passenger car due to emission control standards?

Regular trucks of teh small "light truck" variety are no different that a passenger car for emissions here..... I drive one.

As for the big truck... if COULD BE......

I have a 4 cylinder Chevrolet S10, with a high ratio differential (4.10:1).... it is rated at 30 mpg, I get in reality more like 26 to 28 , much of which is the effect of alcohol added. The truck can use anything up to E85 (85% alcohol) fuel.

Now, my in-laws have a much LARGER truck, with a small V-8. Their mileage is 30 to 33 mpg..... Yes, larger vehicle, HEAVIER, has better fuel economy.

In fact, the 6cyl version of the S10 in same years has better fuel economy. I bought the 4 cyl, thinking it would have good mileage, and also because a stick shift was not available in the 6 cyl, not without going though heck to find one (apparently they do exist, but are rare).

I attribute this to the engine being maxed out more of the time, many engines have a sweet spot of economy which is between half and full power, but not AT full power. (some are different).

Point being that larger vehicles do not have to get poor mileage than smaller ones of same type.

The emissions mandates extras HAVE drained gas mileage.... But much of that is from car maker decisions. The catalytic converter, for instance. It isn't actually REQUIRED to use one, but it is an effective way to handle certain emissions.

However, the car makers implemented it in ways that may have been sub-optimal. They did, for instance, de-tune the engine to allow a certain amount of unburned fuel to go through, because the converter must have some burnable material (fuel) to stay hot enough to work. Obviously that decision wastes fuel, allocating it to emissions control instead of output power.

it is estimated that adding converters to diesel trucks will cut fuel economy by 10 to 15 percent.


Imports and emissions

As far as I know, there is NO other country where the emissions requirements are sufficiently stringent that a vehicle can be legally imported to the US from there without extreme modifications. We have extremely tough rules, and control exhaust components that are not addressed elsewhere at all, or certainly to the same degree.


Pump cheating

As for the 7 gal in a 5 gal can, that sort of thing can generally be discounted, since most of the time a gas can is not nearly full to the top when it has the nominal capacity in it.... if you fill it right up, it will obviously hold more (and spill over as it warms up). So "Bubba" fills it right up, and complains about cheats.

Willy
03-03-2011, 10:14 AM
I have to agree that that the vast majority of gasoline retailers are honest. As has been mentioned there are a lot of safeguards in the system to circumvent tampering.

Local, state, and federal weights and measure compliance checks assure that for the most part the vendors remain honest. Any dispensing apparatus that can alter the quantity dispensed has a soft metal seal that is put in place to alert any inspector in the event it has been tampered with.

Also any liquid metering equipment that I'm aware of will not meter air, all systems have an air eliminator incorporated into them that bypasses any air before the metering chamber.

Does equipment occasionally go out of calibration, certainly. Sometimes this calibration goes out in favor of the buyer and not the seller, as a matter of fact, if it does go out, chances are this is how it will swing. That's why in every jurisdiction that I'm aware of has in place a prescribed time interval when calibration checks are done to periodically check this equipment.

This also applies to something more subtle that surprisingly has not been mentioned here. Blend pumps.
For logistics, gas stations usually only stock two products, regular grade gasoline and premium. When purchasing mid-grade, a blend pump is calibrated to mix the premium and regular at a prescribed ratio so that you are indeed getting the product that you paid for.

There are also other aspects of the transaction that are checked by weights and measures when you purchase gasoline or diesel. This is the quality of the product, something no one here has mentioned. Also something that is completely transparent.
The quality of gasoline, alternative fuels (E85, biodiesel, ethanol, etc.), diesel and fuel oil are also checked at testing laboratories through analysis of octane or cetane rating, distillation, vapor pressure, vapor-liquid ratio, sulfur content, lubricity, oxygenate content, silver corrosion, alcohol content, fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) percentage, and flash point. These are all items that the general public takes for granted.

I've been out of this part of the industry for quite a while, but after having personally delivered over 50 million gallons of petroleum products I can assure you that this is one highly regulated industry.

Are the vast majority of transactions honest?
Yes
Are there like J Tiers said "stinkers" out there?
As in every other part of our society...most assuredly!

Edited for spelling

tlfamm
03-03-2011, 10:34 AM
Pete, how stiff are your emissions regulations over there. I have a pet theory that if they would back some of ours off over here we would see better mileages. We have fancy stuff,hanging all over ours over here mandated by the gov. If you shipped yours over here, would it even be legal to drive here?
Just wondering.
James


Possibly, but my 1999 Saturn sedan (with the bigger engine) gets 37.5 MPG on the highway - so even with the emissions controls from that era, a distinctly ordinary vehicle can get pretty good mileage.

Unfortunately, in the world to come, that MPG is not likely to be sufficient.

Iraiam
03-03-2011, 10:44 AM
I turned in a station once, they were selling E-85 (85% ethanol), for the same price as regular unleaded. I suspect that others turned them in also because 3 days later they were on the news for getting busted.

I have a "flex fuel" vehicle, which is a waste, because the price of E-85, which is subsidized, and is priced higher than it should be. My cost to operate the vehicle per mile went up when using it, couple that with my gut feeling that ethanol as a fuel is immoral. I'll just stick to pump gas, Which is bad enough. Around here it has 10% ethanol blended in, that 10 % makes a difference in the MPG, now I see our elected idiots want to put 15% ethanol in. Sheeeez!

justanengineer
03-03-2011, 11:00 AM
J Tiers - Not sure how your truck differs from mine, but my 99 standard cab short bed S10 w/the 2.2/5 spd and 4.10 rear averages 34 mpg and the worst Ive ever gotten, when I lived in and did nothing but city driving was 30 mpg. Then again, Im not the average driver and just replaced the factory brakes a little over a year ago - 97000 miles and still had almost half the meat on 1 of the factory pads when the other caliper started locking up thanks to NY's rust loving DOT. I definitely do agree about 7 gallons fitting in a 5 gallon can though, my old steel one regularly holds more than 6.

Personally I do find many in this country as silly in the way they spend their money. Then again, trucks are like machine tools. Why would I want to spend big bucks on a new one when I can get one thats been working good for years for a fraction?

radkins
03-03-2011, 01:05 PM
Pump cheating

As for the 7 gal in a 5 gal can, that sort of thing can generally be discounted, since most of the time a gas can is not nearly full to the top when it has the nominal capacity in it.... if you fill it right up, it will obviously hold more (and spill over as it warms up). So "Bubba" fills it right up, and complains about cheats.



Another thing these guys with "certified" 5 gallon cans from Wally world need to consider before complaining to the station owner is to think about exactly what it is they are about to do. The station owner has in all likelihood gone to a great deal of hassle keeping his records, dealing with suppliers, dealing with inspections and for all this makes next to no profit on gasoline. Then some guy with a red plastic gas can walks in and proclaims "I just pumped 7 gallons into my 5 gallon can", what he is doing is in effect calling the owner a thief! Most places will just brush it off but some guys have heard it to the breaking point and may not handle it so kindly so be careful and if you think you have been ripped-off just report it to the authorities and don't approach the station owner!

It seems this 7 gallons into a 5 gallon can story is fairly common and has almost reached the status of "urban legend", probably because the 5 gallon can is the most common but they usually will in fact hold quite a bit more than 5 gallons. My point is just be careful before accusing someone of being a thief!

Dawai
03-03-2011, 04:45 PM
Not likely. When CBS News tried to find out the last time Congress looked into the problem, but came up empty. Fact is: it never has

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/21/cbsnews_investigates/main4371783.shtml


As this is a nationwide issue, it is most appropriately addressed at the federal level. The United States government (specifically the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice and the Department of Energy) has increased its efforts to monitor the petroleum market for potentially illegal or anticompetitive behavior such as price-fixing. To that end, the Department of Energy (DOE) has publicized a website (http://gaswatch.energy.gov/) and a hotline (800-244-3301) where consumers may submit complaints about specific gas retailers in their area. The Federal Trade Commission also maintains a website (http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/oilgas/index.html) which describes their oversight of competition within the petroleum industry.

Done deal.

PeteF
03-03-2011, 04:53 PM
As far as I know, there is NO other country where the emissions requirements are sufficiently stringent that a vehicle can be legally imported to the US from there without extreme modifications. We have extremely tough rules, and control exhaust components that are not addressed elsewhere at all, or certainly to the same degree.


Jerry I find that extremely difficult to believe. I see plenty of imported vehicles there, indeed one of the cars I hired was a Kia (I hired cars twice on this trip) and it looked to me precisely the same as every other Kia I see everywhere else in the world! Of course I didn't strip the motor down during the hire, so maybe it was "extremely modified" compared to the identically looking models sold elsewhere, but I very much doubt it. I believe what you're saying used to be the case, but the newer Euro emission standards seem to be very similar to what is required now in the US, at least as far as I'm able to find out through the net. These days I'd bet it would be just as cheap for a manufacturer to produce one homogenous vehicle for the world market, and simply differentiate LHD/RHD. I'm no motoring expert that's for sure, but look after my own vehicles as I have done all my life, and no longer see the differences in the service manuals in the emission control system that used to apply for the vehicles sold in the US.

I must admit I'm having a quiet chuckle at those who drive large, heavy vehicles and try to claim here they're "just as efficient" as smaller lighter vehicles. I can only presume physics wasn't a strong point for those individuals ;)

FWIW I agree with the sentiments regarding vehicles like the Prius; they're more a product of the marketing department than any marvel of engineering! I often travel in one and like them though, something rather odd about moving away from rest almost completely silently! However as I mentioned above, conventional vehicles have been able to achieve fuel economy figures coming darn close to that of a Prius, but at a fraction of the cost. I was in Auckland on Wednesday and drove to and from the airport in a Prius taxi. When I travel in one if the driver is the owner I will often ask them what the service costs are like on them. The general consensus is they're very simple and inexpensive to service, however it must be done by a Toyota dealer as normal garages don't have the facilities to service them as yet. An interesting titbit I guess if anyone is thinking of buying one.

Pete

Willy
03-03-2011, 07:34 PM
Unfortunately emission standards throughout the world are just different enough to cause grief not only for the consumer but the auto manufactures as well.

The US EPA standards are convoluted enough all by themselves, then we have CARB (California Air Resources Board) standards which a large number of states have adopted. Plus there also CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards which have recently been tightened.

Then there are both Japanese and European Union standards.
Don't forget each set of standards also has different test and driving cycles, durability, reference fuels, and on board diagnostic requirements, among others.
So yeah if only it was as simple as staying Imperial or going metric.:D

For those brave enough to read all 104 pages of World Emission Standards (http://delphi.com/pdf/emissions/Delphi-Passenger-Car-Light-Duty-Truck-Emissions-Brochure-2010-2011.pdf)put out by Delphi, have at her and let us know how things stack up.

J Tiers
03-03-2011, 10:42 PM
Pete:

I can just about guarantee that you cannot buy a standard car in Germany, for instance, and legally bring it into the US even for your personal use. Not before, and definitely not now. Standards are just too different.

Case in point:

The so-called "Smart car" (which is actually the dumbest thing on wheels).

The importer of those originally had to do a lot of modifications AND get them certified, before he could import them, let alone sell them. There were a number of news stories on the matter.

I believe the ones for import here are actually made at the factory to the US standards now that more are sold, but I really have not looked into it any farther.

All the "import" brands are made to meet the standards of the US if they are sold here. And you almost certainly cannot buy one made to those standards anywhere else on earth.

PeteF
03-03-2011, 10:53 PM
Hey Jerry, I'm not really in any position to question what you say, it's not my "area". But I've just been browsing through net information on the topic the past day as it's just an interesting point you make, and I simply don't see the "extreme differences" you're claiming. As was pointed out by the gentleman above, it's not an easy area to compare, and that's a point I've seen echoed on other resources on the topic that I've been reading as the way the testing is done is often quite different.

IIRC the same issue with the "smart cars" came up here, but I wouldn't want to be quoted on that as I'm just going from vague memory. However as I recall it was actually the crash protection that was an issue here. That's something that used to prevent a lot of vehicles from being imported into Australia, but again, possibly less of an issue these days as the world tends to gravitate toward more common standards.

Pete

Edit: It's getting a bit OT Jerry, but this seems to be somewhat at odds with what you're saying also http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/elig092210.pdf

J Tiers
03-03-2011, 11:25 PM
Hah......

The large and complex setup of the Federales...............

That document is the NHTSA, who are concerned ONLY with safety, and not with emissions.

try this one

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/420b10028.pdf

PeteF
03-04-2011, 12:06 AM
Ah ok. Actually the document itself doesn't really shed much light does it! Reading through this subject it seems some are of the opinion this whole process of "Fedralizing", as apparently it's called, is little more than a barrier to entry to prevent a flood of cheap grey imports, however I've read lots of warnings that it's a real mine-field with all manner of stupid requirements to jump through. I have no idea, our own requirements for importing a motor vehicle are complex enough, never mind becoming involved with another country's, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if that was the case!

danlb
03-04-2011, 04:26 AM
The original post dealt with high efficiency autos. Several people have commented on the subject.

It's easy to build a highly efficient auto. It's not easy to make one that is roomy, able to handle normal driving extremes (even just street driving) and feels and acts like a conventional car. Some of the hybrid designs are the best (in my opinion) in meeting these needs.

A "pure electric hybrid" does not exist. A gas+electric like the Volt is a series hybrid. The problem with a series hybrid is that the engine has to be big enough to handle the sustained power needs when climbing mountain ranges or other high demand situations.

A mild hybrid does like Gary350 does. It stops the engine when the car comes to a stop. The difference is that it use appropriately sized alternator and battery to handle the frequent starts. Gary will end up having to replace batteries and every year or two, so his savings will diminish.

A parallel hybrid is (in my mind) the best solution. This is the Toyota system. It can use the gas, the battery or both at any moment as needed. The engine can charge the batteries while also powering the wheels. It is so transparent that the driver never knows where the power is coming from. There is no incline in the US that will deplete the battery.

If the Prius were not designed with low pollution as the first consideration the fuel economy would greatly increase. My 2002 Prius is still getting 45 MPG in combined city+highway driving (with a daily trip over a mountain pass).

The problems with the hydrolic system; 1) making it smooth when braking as well as when accelerating and 2) heat dissipation as the fluid is compressed and 3) storing enough energy for stop and go freeway traffic.

Dan

J Tiers
03-04-2011, 09:54 AM
At least one of the other asian hybrids never stopped the engine, so it idled away your mileage as you were stopped in traffic. neighbors had one, it got lousy city mileage, good on highway.

Prius is opposite, I understand from owners..... great city mileage, very little improvement on highway, or slight decrease. But when you are getting good mileage to begin with that isn't so bad.

Still gravels me that I had cars that got 35 to 45 mpg in the 1970's..... early small pickups got 35 mpg, but after the anti-pollution stuff was loaded on, the same 4 cyl styles dropped to the low 20 mpg range. No I don't mean tricked-out with every accessory.... mine is basically a fleet truck, no amenities, and I barely escape the "low 20's" myself, despite being quite good at economical driving.

Volvo 240 wagon from early 1980s.... 30 mpg no problem, 35 sometimes. From 1990s, 20mpg city, maybe 26 highway if you baby it.

The list goes on

madman
03-04-2011, 09:55 AM
Obamas speech courtesy of Steve Rice made me laugh. Like pump them up to 100 psi if they dont blow youre Laughing. Like something out of a Hunter S, Thompson Book Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas?? Experimental Firestone Radials remember that story anyone. Dave cofer just wants a Hyabusa, maybe with a Ball Bearing Turbo to boot. So he can get out in Georgia and do some serious speeding. Dave build a drag bike go to the Track Buddy. Those cops down there doint like you much ...

danlb
03-04-2011, 02:52 PM
Prius is opposite, I understand from owners..... great city mileage, very little improvement on highway, or slight decrease. But when you are getting good mileage to begin with that isn't so bad.


It actually works the other way. Straight out highway mileage, with no city driving is phenomenal. City mileage can be fantastic, especially compared to a conventional car. Most folks get 10 to 20% better highway miles than they do city. It makes sense in that city driving is stop and go, and that always wastes energy. Highway cruising can take advantage of using the engine at optimum speeds for power generation (storing the excess), then shutting it off and running on just battery for a few miles at a time.

But when you compare it to a conventional car, the percentages seem weak. A conventional drivetrain gets 50% better mileage on the freeway than they do in teh city. It's all numbers.



Still gravels me that I had cars that got 35 to 45 mpg in the 1970's..... early small pickups got 35 mpg, but after the anti-pollution stuff was loaded on, the same 4 cyl styles dropped to the low 20 mpg range. No I don't mean tricked-out with every accessory.... mine is basically a fleet truck, no amenities, and I barely escape the "low 20's" myself, despite being quite good at economical driving.

Volvo 240 wagon from early 1980s.... 30 mpg no problem, 35 sometimes. From 1990s, 20mpg city, maybe 26 highway if you baby it.



The problem with those 1970's cars is that they stink. Literally. California has a large number of older cars around, and I can usually tell that there's a 60's or 70's car ahead of me by the smell before I spot it. Of course, that stink is unburned fuel and byproducts of poor combustion. Sadly, the cure for that is to waste fuel in a built in incinerator ( cat converter ) that needs enough fuel in the exhaust to stay hot.

We rented an Altima last week. Drove it city and highway in Pheonix for a weekend. I was appalled to find that it got right at 20 MPG when I filled it up at the rental return. This is a small car and I did not drive it hard, so I expected better.


Back to the OP:
When designing a more efficient car, the first thing to do is examine the way it will be used. A car that will only be used for 10 mile trips to the store every other day can use a LOT of different power sources. A car that is expected to cross the Rocky mountains will need a more conventional power source.

Dan

J Tiers
03-05-2011, 12:47 AM
It actually works the other way. Straight out highway mileage, with no city driving is phenomenal. City mileage can be fantastic, especially compared to a conventional car.

Hmmmm

owners I spoke to appeared to say what I reported, but perhaps I misunderstood them...... I don't have a Prius and don't know in detail.

What I said was just what I got from more than one owner, as we have had several 'energy fairs", and the like around here.

I would expect city driving to be very good, as the engine is off a LOT. Edging along in traffic is done on battery....for a while at least.

Those darn things are so quiet that I understand electric and hybrid vehicles may be required to have some sort of noisemaker to let pedestrians know they are there.


The problem with those 1970's cars is that they stink. Literally. California has a large number of older cars around, and I can usually tell that there's a 60's or 70's car ahead of me by the smell before I spot it.

60's, yes. But if you get very good mileage, the amount of fuel left unburned is less.... or the mileage would stink too. it would be interesting to compare the grams per mile vs fuel economy and get a three-way optimum.....

'70's cars started to have cats.... and the 240 example is really pitting a post 1976 vehicle against a 1990 vehicle. Very much same car, engine, amenities, etc. But teh older car (which has a cat and doesn't stink of fuel) gets 25 to 30% better mileage that the 1990.

Now, the target pollution for teh cat is really NOx, and not so much hydrocarbons...... so to cure the NOx problem, mileage must be drastically cut..... another case for the three or 4 way optimization as an alternative to the economy-killing full court press on NOx.

BTW, NEW car exhausts stink pretty badly also...... There is a nasty smell that has an almost chlorine-type character to it which comes from nearly all efficient combustion. From high efficiency furnaces, from newer cars, etc. It's pretty bad, actually, but it dilutes well. Apparently the solution to pollution in this case IS dilution.

aboard_epsilon
03-05-2011, 08:22 AM
At least one of the other asian hybrids never stopped the engine, so it idled away your mileage as you were stopped in traffic. neighbors had one, it got lousy city mileage, good on highway.

Prius is opposite, I understand from owners..... great city mileage, very little improvement on highway, or slight decrease. But when you are getting good mileage to begin with that isn't so bad.

Still gravels me that I had cars that got 35 to 45 mpg in the 1970's..... early small pickups got 35 mpg, but after the anti-pollution stuff was loaded on, the same 4 cyl styles dropped to the low 20 mpg range. No I don't mean tricked-out with every accessory.... mine is basically a fleet truck, no amenities, and I barely escape the "low 20's" myself, despite being quite good at economical driving.

Volvo 240 wagon from early 1980s.... 30 mpg no problem, 35 sometimes. From 1990s, 20mpg city, maybe 26 highway if you baby it.

The list goes on

you never know

it would be in the oilers interests to make fuel that gives less mpg ..as the cars engines have improved. over the last 3 decades.

We have devices on them now sucking all the volatiles out of the tank as they are made, by sloshing around and being warmed up. (I'm not quite sure weather this happens more on the over run (throttle closed)..which is not good if it does....this is especially noticeable on hot days ....and even more noticeable on hot days with the super dooper premium petrol.

i have LPG ...but i still fill my petrol tank up ........and petrol still disappears ..no leaks ..when not in use.


all the best.markj