Category Archives: 7. Miscellany

Chevrolet Volt Fuel Stats

2013 Chevrolet Volt

My friend Lee purchased this 2013 Chevrolet Volt about 2 years ago.  Lee’s goal from the beginning was to achieve as much efficiency as could be obtained by driving as smooth as possible (more on this later, see below).  He has made it a priority to avoid gas stations!!

I’ve read much about hybrids and from my research there is a mind-shift one must make to meet the highest level of efficiency.  For yours truly, this would certainly be a steep learning curve but I digress.  Back to Lee’s Volt and the subject of this story.

You see, this week Lee texted me the following pair of photos when he filled the Volt’s tank with regular unleaded for only the third time since he bought the car!!  

Mileage since last fill up

This is the first photo of the Volt’s dashboard.  It shows mileage since the last fill up.  Lee explained he only resets the “B” odometer every time he fills up with fuel.  And here is the follow-up on the note in the first paragraph:  notice the indicator with the ball framed between the two brackets on the right of the picture.  Lee explained that is the indicator that helps you drive as efficient as possible:  the goal is the keep the ball in the middle the majority of the time.

Mileage since purchase

And this photo shows the “A” odometer, displaying total mileage since Lee purchased the 2013 Volt.  15,734 miles on exactly 23 gallons.

How the 23 gallons were used is an interesting story in itself.  Once the batteries are exhausted, the 4 cylinder engine kicks in and generates power to replenish the batteries.  During winter months, the engine helps provide heat and during summer months the engine provides help cooling the car.  The Volt’s computer also engages the engine when it “needs to run”.  On several occasions Lee has told me of the indicator that reminds the driver of this.  Pretty cool, huh?

Finally one of the neatest stories Lee has shared was shortly after purchasing the Volt.  You see, he bought the car in Asheville NC and drove around town a bit on electric power.  Then, on the way back to Greenville SC, the steep drive down I-26 provided enough braking (energy recovery) to recharge the battery almost to capacity.  Pretty cool stuff…

Needless to say, driving a Volt takes discipline.  Lee has proven with these results that a hybrid car is a very practical and real alternative.  I am a big offender because my Camaro is the complete opposite to the Volt.  It is downright embarrassing:  Lee has owned his Volt for almost 2 years and has filled up 3 times.  I have owned my Camaro 2 years (on the 10th of December) and I have filled up 70 times to travel almost the same distance.  Granted, we are missing the electric part of the cost of ownership but I think these stats are remarkable.

Thoughts?  Comments?

Can’t Fix Stupid

I am constantly amazed by the carelessness of drivers around me and in this particular case, that carelessness gets upgraded into the realm of “can’t fix stupid”.

Since I have had some issues with my internet service provider’s billing, I decided to stop by one of their offices.  Yes, I tried the phone but they were reluctant to help.  I thought a face-to-face visit might solve the problem, but no.  I was greeted by a very friendly person, but that is as far as it went.  The experience was a complete waste of time because the person on the other side of the counter gave me her minimum-wage’s worth of help.  But, I digress.

Back to my story…

On the way out of the internet provider’s office I noticed this parked sad and lonely SUV with a flat right-rear tire.  What struck me as odd was the ring on the sidewall showing evidence of severe wear.  It is very obvious, this tire had traveled a long distance completely flat.  So much so, that the sidewall material is showing through the rubber on the sidewall.  Just imagine how hot this sidewall got too!

Cord exposed on the tire’s sidewall due to severe under inflation

I suppose I am overly sensitive to stuff like this because I am very particular about the care of my automobiles.  However, in today’s world there are so many people who ignore the basics of automotive care.  Are drivers so oblivious they don’t notice issues with their vehicles?

Flat or under inflated tires are prevalent these days.  I’ve witnessed on several occasions SUV’s (driven by millennial soccer moms) with kids in tow and yet the tires on these vehicles are either low on air or past their prime (sometimes both!).  Then, I can just hear the conversations blaming tire quality when catastrophic failures like the one pictured above happen.

Can’t fix stupid.

Bedliner Clad Jeep

The other day, I walked to a little restaurant next door to the place I work at and in the parking lot saw this bedliner clad Jeep.  The olive drab paint job is indeed bedliner.  How cool is that!

I realize this is not something special.  This Jeep’s owner decided to treat this vehicle to an iron clad paint job that will quite frankly last forever.  Truth is to be told, I did the same thing (except in black) to the entire underside of bowtie6.

Think about it, this is one hell of a cool idea!  I walked up to the vehicle and touched it – the surface was far from “smooth”.  It was quite rough but looked awesome.  So much so, the material also covered all the emblems in such a way they could easily be read.

Pretty cool huh?

Ford Tough

Driving RedRock to work this week, I see this vehicle at a red light proudly wearing a Ford Tough sticker…

But wait a minute…  What is wrong here?  This is not a Ford Tough SUV!!  This is a Honda Pilot.  😯

I get a kick out of the different stickers people plaster on their cars…

  • Stick families (gotta include the dogs/cats)…
  • Holy rollers…
  • “My kid did this or the other special crap”…
  • Political affiliation – these are even more entertaining when comparing candidates vs car/SUV/truck…
  • Hardware (as in guns)…
  • In memory of…

And then, one of my favorites:  the ones that make no sense at all.  As in today’s featured picture making a Honda Pilot “Ford Tough”.  Wonder how the boys in Dearborn feel about that?

As we say here in the South, “Bless his heart”.  But it’s all good, after all he is a Clemson Dad.  😉

Question of Motor Oil Qualities

I decided to change oil on bowtie6 and headed to AutoZone with three jugs of used oil and responsibly disposed of the old stuff in their recycling tank.  Since they let me do this, I try to keep business with them so I picked up an Ecotec compatible K&N oil filter and a 5 quart jug of Mobil1 5w-30 oil.

The fellow behind the counter scanned the goods and said the bill was almost $50.  This didn’t make sense because the posted price for the oil was $29.  He said that is the price with a Mobil1 oil filter; otherwise the price of the oil is $38.  This is a scam because the Mobil1 filters are slightly double what the K&N filters go for.  So at the end, the price is almost the same.

I told him I would pass on the oil; instead I just bought the K&N filter.  This is when I asked him why the price discrepancy because I can buy the same jug of Mobil1 oil from Wal-Mart for $23.

His reply was very interesting…

Before he started answering my question, he informed me he was a previous manager at a Pep Boys and had also been in charge of an automotive department at a Wal-Mart before working at AutoZone.  And, he gave me the “look”, as if to say what he was about to say was the inside dope on matters.  Then, he proceeded to tell me that Exxon-Mobil makes two different qualities of oil.  AutoZone gets the premium batches while Wal-Mart gets the scraps.  Thus the difference in price between the two.

According to this fellow, the AutoZone Mobil1 oil gets certified as premium oil.  He then informed me that the Mobil1 oil sold at Wal-Mart is of a lesser quality.  In his words: “the Mobil1 sold at Wal-Mart is the bottom of the mixing vats and the size of the molecules is not up to par with the batches they sell at AutoZone”.

Hmmmm…  Again, I did some Google searches on this subject and indeed it is a matter of debate.  All I have to say is that given the law-suit friendly climate prevalent in our nation today, why would a huge company like Exxon-Mobil expose themselves to loss by making two qualities of oil branded under the same name?

Yet more food for thought:  what about the Mobil1 sold at Costco?  They don’t sell the jugs, instead they carry the six-packs.  Yet the price is comparable to the Wal-Mart price.  Reckon this has to do with volume of good sold and not necessarily quality?

What are your thoughts on this?

Like my Dad used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”.  😉

Until next time…