from Goss’ Garage by Pat Goss
I believe the saying is “I do declare,” but what I don’t believe is that when the phrase was coined it had anything to do with gasoline. No matter because “I do declare” there sure is a lot of nonsense being circulated about gasoline.
Apparently everyone who can search the Internet or can say the word gasoline has become a gasoline expert lately. Can you say gas-oh-leen? If you can you may qualify as a gasoline expert too. Reporters who couldn’t spell gasoline last week are churning out information as if they’re petrochemical engineers and fluently conversant in all matters gasoline this week. Oh no! Do I perceive a brain-fart pandemic approaching?
Unfortunately many of today’s reporters don’t do research, nah way too difficult, they do searches which means they are often more befuddled than informed. Lazy reporters have become part of a huge and ever-expanding problem created by dim-witted Internet automotive wannabes and Internet pranksters who deliberately mislead drivers.
One massive heap of pooh found on the Internet concerns what time of day to buy gas. Unfortunately, this gibberish is being regurgitated by countless reporters who suggest you should buy your gas early in the morning or late at night because the gas will be cooler and denser. Although colder gas is denser than warmer gas and therefore provides slightly more energy per measured gallon the temperature of the gas you pump into your tank isn’t affected by the time of day.
It’s appalling that so many people either no longer take the time or don’t know how to analyze basic information. Think back; were you awake or comatose during fifth grade science class? If you were awake you may remember that ground temperature doesn’t change by the hour. Actually ground temperature doesn’t change daily or even weekly, it changes by season. So, because gasoline is stored in underground tanks buried in non-temperature-fluctuating earth, gas temperature doesn’t change either.
Filling up at a certain time of day does not save money. This is woefully bad information that either originated in the mind of some cyber-punk who thinks deceiving folks is enormous fun or someone who slept through science class. Most folks who take the time to think about this story come to the obvious conclusion: there is no rapid change in ground temperature and therefore no rapid change in the temperature of the gasoline stored underground.
Also it takes days not hours for thousands of gallons of any liquid to change temperature. So even without the insulating and stabilizing qualities of the earth around the underground storage tanks, the thousands of gallons of gasoline in the tanks would not change on an hourly basis. Bottom line, you can quit trying to plan your life around when to fill your fuel tank because time of day really doesn’t matter, there is no best time of day to buy gas!
But what about fuelling up while the tanker is filling the underground tanks? There might be a miniscule difference in energy content per gallon if you fill up while the tank truck is unloading but only in the summer. Because the tanker has been out in the sun for a long time the gas going into the ground may be slightly warmer and therefore less dense. But that warmer gas will only have a minimal effect on the general temperature of the gas in the underground tank. That difference is so small that driving to another station will use considerably more energy than you could ever save. That is unless the next station is less than three feet away.
© Copyright 7/21/2009 Pat Goss. All Rights Reserved.