Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gasoline in the Colder Months

Do you ever feel like your gas seems to last a little bit longer in the winter months? Or that a half a tank seems to not last as long during the summer?

It is not a conspiracy or an elaborate plan to bilk you out of your hard-earned money. The real reason for this lies in the physical properties of refined gasoline. We know that the compound that makes up gasoline is quite a volatile concoction -- hence the reason it has the explosive power to turn the wheels of our vehicles. It is also volatile in its own liquid state; this is the reason that it is constantly giving off vapors (changing from liquid form to a gas). With it moving between physical states so often, the liquid gasoline is also constantly expanding and contracting, depending on its temperature.

In warmer states like Arizona, California, and Nevada, the summer heat causes the gasoline to take up more space in your gas tank. In the winter, a drastic change can occur when temperatures fall below the freezing point. This is also the reason why we change blends between summer seasons, is to keep a consistency in the physical properties of gasoline throughout the extremes in temperatures.

So, as we journey into the cold months of 2012, you will most assuredly see a changing behavior in your gas usage and possible mileage, but do not worry. Again, this is not a ploy by oil markets to get a few more cents out of your pocket, it is simply the physical nature of gasoline.

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