Winter Fuel blends

So it is definitely cold outside. No doubt about it. It was roughly -437°F recently, with a warming trend this past weekend up to the 30’s. I have lived here in Minnesota all my life and I still think it’s ridiculous that coming up to just below freezing is a warming trend. I often wonder why we all live here. Then I remember the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, “Minnesota Nice”, just about anything on a stick at a certain time of year, and the Minnesota Vikings (wait…no…try to forget that one…sorry…)  and that makes it not so bad. Kinda.

All this winter loveliness has reminded me that we are all most likely running on winter blend fuel in our cars and trucks. It may be a little known fact, but basically all the fuel available in the winter months is quite different from the fuel you purchased way back in delightfully warm August. To prevent all sorts of cold related nastiness like fuel freezing in tanks, various additives are included with winter blend fuel. Additives take up space and generally don’t burn in the engine very well, so it ends up being a loss of energy in the long run.  Specifications can vary quite a bit, but a good average shows that the actual energy content of a gallon of winter blend gasoline vs. a gallon of summer blend to be anywhere from 3-8% less. This may not seem like it would have a noticeable impact on your wallet, but it really adds up over the entire season. Think about 15 gallons sloshing around in your fuel tank, all with 8% less energy in them to move your car through the Caribou Coffee drive-thru. 15 gallons with 8% less energy in them is the same as 13.8 gallons of summer blend. Let’s just say your car gets 26 mpg as a nice ballpark estimate. With winter blend fuel you get to drive 32 miles less for every tank than you do in the summer! That’s like driving from the deflated Metrodome to the Mpls/St. Paul International Airport and back! 32 miles is a long way to walk in January….

So 32 miles less per tank. Maybe you fill up only twice a week if you are lucky. That’s 64 miles less per week. And you qualify for the multi-car discount on your car insurance so that means 128 miles missing per week. 512 miles per month between your two cars averaging 26miles per gallon. And at $3.15 per gallon that works out to roughly $63 per month out of your pocket. That’s alot of Chipotle burritos without homes. Thanks alot Mother Nature.

$63 a month. Let’s see, stations probably start switching around November and change back in maybe April so worst case scenario is 6 months at $63 = $378. Add into that the fact that we all start our cars to let them warm up and have to drive frustratingly slow in snowstorms, both of which use more fuel. We may be spending $500 extra per winter for our two cars, just so Santa has something to glide his sleigh on.

P.S. A fun fact about fuel consumption and the typical American.

According to “The Oil and Gas Journal” website ( , Sheldon H. Jacobson, director of the simulation and optimization laboratory in the computer science department at the University of Illinois has found an interesting figure…

“Obesity is offsetting automobile engineering for better fuel economy. The auto industry has a fuel economy target of 24 mpg for 2011 model light trucks that is expected to save more than 250 million gal/year of fuel. But according to Jacobson and McLay, that savings will be eliminated by increased fuel consumption due to an average weight gain of 6.4 lb among US residents. Jacobson estimates more than 39 million gal/year of fuel are necessary to transport each additional 1 lb of average gain among US motorists.”

I suppose I should skip the Chipotle burrito then. Those beasts have got to be over 3 pounds!

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The value of a used car inspection.

It’s a safe bet that we have all purchased something and a short time later kicked ourselves for being so blind. We think to ourselves, “How could I have thought this was ok?” or “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” or “How could I have been so clueless?” The pain of regret can be hard to get past. Believe me, I’m still trying to get over feelings like these stemming from the Zubaz pants craze from the 90’s…

That is a primary goal of Integrity Auto Inspections. No, not bringing back the Zubaz. Helping people make informed used vehicle purchases that bring satisfaction and peace of mind. Helping people get a clear understanding of the condition and safety of a vehicle that they are considering purchasing. It can be a large investment for most of us and to be unsure of what we are really buying can be a very scary idea. And with the assurance and convenience of our on-site inspections, we have taken away all the roadblocks to the peace of mind everyone searches for.

Hopefully, most people know that having a car inspected before a purchase is a wise thing. Simple little details that might go unnoticed to an un-trained eye can be clear indicators of big trouble to someone who really knows what to look for.  This can put power in the buyer’s hands to confidently negotiate a fair purchase or even to walk away from something that might not be the best vehicle for them.

On the other side of the transaction, sellers can highlight the exceptional way they have maintained their vehicle. A inspection for them can mean small details un-covered that might have incorrectly scared away potential buyers. It can also showcase the good value that this vehicle is compared to the sea of competitors out there. If you had two potential new vehicles in mind, one impartially inspected and the other not, wouldn’t you lean towards the one willing to pay for a full disclosure of it’s true condition? It can make a world of difference.

In short, Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With today’s transmission repairs running into several thousand dollars, it sure takes a lot of pounds of cure to balance out that preventative ounce…

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Making Progress…

We received our documents in the mail today….we are officially in business now!!

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New Site!

We got a new site. Cool huh?

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