The monthly refueling

Tomorrow it will be a month since I last filled up the car with petrol. The tank is almost empty now; I’ll fill it up again tonight.

Generally I just fill it up when it’s getting lowish and it’s convenient. Given my consumption isn’t high, I don’t bother to shop around, and if I see the queue is long, I look for another petrol station.

My new car is more efficient than my old car. I know this because while both have about a 50 litre tank, I used to fill up the old car with petrol about every 2-3 weeks; now it’s about every 3-4 weeks, and the amount of driving I do is roughly the same as it was then.

Another totally unscientific measure of consumption: I reset the tripometer the last time I filled up. Based on how far I’d travelled by the time it got to half-full, then quarter-full, and now almost empty, I can drive about 500 km on a 50 litre tank, which seems pretty good.

Mind you, that makes 10 litres per 100 km, which is a fair bit above the theoretical 7.6 figure in the Green Vehicle Guide. (I had to use the Astra Classic figure, as the GVG only covers post-2003 cars, and annoyingly the older Fuel Consumption database at has gone offline.)

I guess that means that (a) theoretical figures are just that, theoretical, and (b) I can probably learn to drive more efficiently.

Update Thursday night: Of course, my relaxed petrol buying strategy means I paid 10 cents per litre more today than I would have done yesterday. Mind you, long queues yesterday, none today.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “The monthly refueling”

As the metric system is still a bit new to me I cannot yet judge very well the liters per 100 KM system and instead I convert the figures for my car to miles per gallon which is used in the US to determine economy. My X Trail gets between 22 and 25 MPG around town which is quite good for a 2.5 liter car this size. This is about the same as the Honda Accord I had in the US. I reset the trip odometer every fill up. Since moving to Melbourne I have only need to fill up about once per month. In the US I usually had to fill up once per week.

i have both gas and fuel so i fill up both at the very start of each pay fortnight (i usually have a half tank of something left by then)

i never use the Liters to the Kilometer system – makes an enormous difference if your city driving or open road cruising.

My 2005 BA XR6 Ford Falcon uses approximately 14.7 litres per 100 kilometres on average. I know it’s not a green fuel efficient electric car, but I love my XR6! As a lifelong Falcon driver, it’s a dream- comfortable, smooth, and quite a bit of power to boot! Mind you, even though it is a bit of a guzzler, it does get a bit of bang for its buck.
Exactly a year ago, I drove to Adelaide with it, and what a wonderfully great drive it was! Anyway, I got from Dandenong to Bordertown (approx 500km) with 3/4 of a tank ( tank is approx. 60L) on 95 octane petrol. I must say I was quite surprised with what I was able to get out of it! Almost wanted to keep going to see how far I could go on the tank, but didn’t risk it and refuelled there! I estimated that I may have made it over 90% of the way there, but I’ll never know! Nothing like a big Aussie car on trips like that! Go Ford! Go Falcon!

Gosh. 10 l per 100 km is rather high. I’d have that looked at if I were you.
I drive a BMW 320d and get 5.7 to 6.0 l out of it.
I do drive long distances a lot (at least 2 trips of just over 200 km per week plus other business trips) and average about 40,000 km per year so that may have something to do with it…

My guess it that has everything to do with it. While I rarely drive in very heavy traffic, almost all my trips (start ignition to turn it off) are less than 5km, which I assume affects consumption.

Next time I’m going for a long drive I’ll check the consumption.

The ADR81/01 fuel economy test that is the standard test in Australia involves a mix of city cycle and highway cycle driving – so the figure reported for any particular car is a combination of both. If you do most of your driving in city conditions, you will record a higher figure than the test. On the other hand, if like me you do mostly highway driving, then your figure will be lower.

If my car ever actually consumed what the standard test says it should, I’d go looking for a fuel leak :)

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