Mother Earth News Blogs > Green Transportation

Green Transportation

Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.

Flirting with a $50 Fill Up

By John Rockhold

Tags: Gas mileage, gas prices,

I bought gas last night. Cost me $42.96. Ouch.

When I saw the low-fuel light come on in my 2001 Honda Civic, I feared I was going to get hit with a $50 fill-up. But thankfully it wasn’t quite that bad.

What I got was 11.017 gallons at $3.899 a gallon. The car before me at the pump took about 18 gallons for about $70. Although rare, I have seen $100-plus totals this summer at my neighborhood gas station.

As usual, I wrote down the numbers I would need to do my mpg math. I jot them down on my receipt, which already lists the amount of fuel I bought.

354.4 miles on my trip meter divided by 11.017 gallons comes to 32 mpg. Ouch.

I know it’s summer and I’m using the air conditioning often, but 32 mpg isn’t good enough for me, nor my car, which definitely can do better. Looking at my gas mileage spreadsheet  (yes, I’m an mpg nut) back at home, I can see that my green Civic’s fuel economy has been slowly moving in the wrong direction over the last several weeks. The car does have 130,000+ miles, but I ought to be able to get about 34 mpg in the summer and up to 38 mpg in cooler weather.

So it’s time to check my tire pressure and do more sleuthing. I’m probably overdue for a tune-up. Hopefully I’ll find something and can raise the mpg result next time. But if gas prices continue upward, I might face that $50 fill-up after all.

How much have you paid at the pump? Share you pain by posting a comment below.

kim wallace
7/24/2008 4:42:11 PM

Hi John, I just filled up my car—a 2009 Camry—and reached the $56 mark. I got 14.09 gallons at 3.79-ish, I think. I get between 31 and 36 mpg, but it's definitely a problem when I'm speeding on the highway. Cruise control has been a good thing for my car budget! Kim

madeline hyden_2
7/20/2008 8:18:42 AM

I checked the mpg on my 2003 Civic and it clocked in at 34. I can usually get 38 or 39 when the AC is off consistently. Also, I've been trying my best to drive the speed limit during my drive from Lawrence to Topeka and back. I never realized how driving 80+ mph will suck your gas tank dry!

7/16/2008 4:03:28 PM

Jessie, yes he filled up with 98 dollars but he probably has a 30 gallon tank. What is his MPG? That's what important.

jessie fetterling_2
7/16/2008 1:49:06 PM

I have a friend that owns a SUV, which is hard to imagine during these times. He told me that when he filled up the other day (at about $3.89 a gallon) his bill was $98!! It made me sick to my stomach hearing that.