How much does winter gas decrease mileage? - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon

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Old 11-30-2008, 12:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

So I recall reading some threads about winter gas decreasing mileage, but what kind of decrease can I be expecting? Over the summer I was consistently getting 10.5L/100km (22.5 Mi/Gal) in my Z85, so I quit calculating mileage. Lately I've been getting 12.5L/100km (18.8Mi/Gal). Does this seem like a big drop just due to winter gas or could something else be wrong? I havn't done any mods between then and now. Any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Its true... I get about 50km less to a tank because of winter gas. The change is immediately obvious too. I got 600km+ out of my last tank of regular gas, and as soon as the stations switched to winter gas Im struggling to get 550km to a tank.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

It also takes longer for the engine to warm up. This keeps coolant temp sensors cold for a longer time and keeps the fuel injection running rich for longer periods. Rich mixtures also help light off the cat quicker and keep pollution out of the air. In real cold climates, I assume it's a habit to leave your car warming up in the driveway and keep the engine idling for longer periods to keep the heater and defroster going. We Kalifornians get a real crappy winter blend gas that is full of "oxygenates". This stuff is similar to E10 that is found elsewhere and reduces fuel mileage. It's sold to us as helping our global climate but in the end just makes you use more gas, lightens your wallet quicker and makes cars runs bad.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Thanks guys. That's a big difference... I thought up here in Canada they added alcohol to the gas to help prevent fuel lines from freezing, though I'm not sure - that'd decrease mileage I assume. It hasn't gotten too cold yet, so I hope my mileage doesn't get too much worse when it does. I'm sure the extra amount of 0Mi/Gal I get while warming up my truck doesn't help! Thanks again.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

So I looked into what is changed from winter to summer gas- what the companies do is blend the fuel differently so that in the winter it vaporizes more easily = easier to start your car when it's cold, where as in the summer they use a different blend that doesn't vaporize as easily. They also add de-icers in really cold regions, not sure what it is. I guess that all adds up to worse mileage but easier starting.
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Old 11-30-2008, 12:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

its not a big change but u will def notice a few miles per tank
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by upflying
It also takes longer for the engine to warm up. This keeps coolant temp sensors cold for a longer time and keeps the fuel injection running rich for longer periods. Rich mixtures also help light off the cat quicker and keep pollution out of the air. In real cold climates, I assume it's a habit to leave your car warming up in the driveway and keep the engine idling for longer periods to keep the heater and defroster going.
Im sure that this doesn't help... but its not the only factor. I have an e-fan, so warm-ups are just as quick as on warm day. Also, This has been noticible for the last few weeks and it has not really been that cold so my driving habits have not changed.

Besides, the coolant temp has little to do with the fuel mixture. Once the exhaust heats the O2 to 600* - It enters closed loop and trims based on A/F; not just mixture tables. Ontop of that, the O2's in these trucks are heated - so the difference between summer and winter warm-ups may be the different from 60 to 90 seconds respectively.


The fact is that they add antifreeze to the gas in the winter. This means that you go from getting "100% gas" in the summer (for arguments sake) to getting "90% gas / 10% antifreeze" in the winter. Antifreeze is not a fuel, so this translates into a 10% reduction in mileage since you have 10% less gas.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Even though the system can go closed loop early it still bases the A/F on water and air temperature. Just because an O2 sensor is warm doesn't mean a cold engine will run acceptably at 14.7:1 Maybe the e-fan is working miracles for you, because I have to drive for fifteen minutes before it's fully warm even after letting it warm for five first. Double the time from summer.

Antifreeze in the gas, huh? In the west we blend in alcohol which, although doesn't contain the same energy as gas, is a combustible so a 10% mix will not drop the mileage by the same 10%. We could go further and take into account higher fuel density in colder temperatures as well. Which is why pumps have stickers saying what temperature they are calibrated at.

Slightly less efficient gas, richer mixtures, colder, stiffer vehicle all work together to reduce MPG. Also consider people drive shorter distances in the winter which can skew the overall MPG. A 2L/100km change cannot be blamed on winter gas alone.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Alcohol is the antifreeze he was talking about.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

I was getting 15 at best up in ND. I'm consistantly getting 18 now. I usually ran the truck 15 minutes to warm it up in ND, so I think the winter gas 2 mpg.
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