How much does winter gas decrease mileage? - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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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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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:14 PM
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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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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:28 PM
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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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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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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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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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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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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 12:59 PM
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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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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 01:39 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

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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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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 02:41 PM
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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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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 02:50 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Alcohol is the antifreeze he was talking about.

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 02:51 PM
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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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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 03:59 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

I keep track of my mileage with every fill and given similar driving from summer to winter I see a 1.5 to 2.0 mpg drop on winter fuel. Since I always fill the tank up full after it gets to somewhere below a quarter full I see the drop in mileage immediately with that new tank after the changeover.

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 05:20 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Regarding the e-fan... We had 2-3 days a few weeks ago that were really cold. I let my truck idle for about 2min before I drive it. Then, within about 3min of driving the coolant temp is up to about 180*F.

I drive about 600km/week to/from work, and I always take the same route / go the same speed / use cruise control - so I notice every little change in my fuel usage. On top of that, my ScanGaugeII keeps track of my instant / daily / tank MPG and there is a very noticeable different between summer & winter gas.


And yes - as ssgjurista stated - the antifreeze is the alcohol I was referring to.



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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Well from what all of you have said it looks like the fuel mileage drop I've experienced is somewhat normal. I suppose the winter blends are different from area to area and up in Canada it's probably a bit more extreme. Hopefully I get back to my normal 22mpg when spring hits. Thanks for the help!

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 05:45 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

My mileage stays about the same because in the summer im using the a/c everywhere and it really drags my truck down. In the winter I dont use the a/c but i do let it warm up in the mornings and of course the fuel change.

Therefore mine pretty much equals out the same all the time.

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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 08:24 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

the price may have dropped but the mileage has to

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 10:57 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

well I was getting over 340 miles to a tank of gas during the summer on my I-5 (21 mpg avg). Now I am lucky if I get 260 miles (16 mpg).

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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 02:07 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

I went from about 24 to 21.

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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 02:20 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

I go from about 550 KM's in the Summer to 450-500 KM's in the Winter, depending on a lot of factors of course.

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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Rangerbob, how're you getting 24mpg with 33s? That's awesome. I'm upsizing to 32s pretty quick and I was worried about fuel economy. 3.73 gears?

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 03:38 PM
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Re: How much does winter gas decrease mileage?

Rangerbob has a flux capacitor and feeds it potato peels. J/K

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