Monday, November 19, 2018

Gas pains

The Rolling Steel Tent gets about 16.5 miles per gallon most of the time. About 15 in city traffic and occasionally 17.5 downhill with a tailwind.

The other day I filled the tank then drove two miles to an overnighting spot. When I started the van the next morning, the needle on the fuel gauge was down about a half tick mark while sitting on level ground. Hmmm, maybe I didn’t actually fill the tank all the way.

Just past ten miles down the road the needle was down a tick and a half. At thirty miles I was down a quarter tank. “That’s like seven gallons, which is (...head math...) a little over four miles a gallon. That’s ridiculous!”

I didn’t smell gasoline from inside the van, but I pulled off at the next exit, popped the hood, looked around underneath… No visible leaks, no fumes. “Where is the gas going?”

I pulled onto the highway again and the fuel level continued to drop unusually fast. “Maybe it’s just the gauge.” I stopped at the next gas station and filled up. It took ten gallons. “Okay, so it’s not the gauge. But what is it? A sensor or something? I mean, it’s driving fine otherwise, just drinking huge amounts of gas in order to keep running ‘normally.’”

I hit the road again, hoping I wouldn’t need to keep stopping for gas, trying to formulate plausible sources of my problem.

Then gas consumption magically returned to normal. About 125 miles on a quarter tank, 250 on a half tank…

Okay, mechanical things don’t fix themselves. But electrical things can go weird then return to normal. Before going weird again. Or never going weird again. Because electricity is the tool of the devil.


  1. Rotation of the earth, if your swimming upstream it always requires more energy. Traveling with the rotation, your mileage should return to norms, or increase slightly.

  2. I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with El Nino, sunspots and the results of the midterms.

  3. Have you also been experiencing excessive salivation? If so, I recommend you immediately fashion a hat out of tinfoil.