~  Stare at the sky if you wonder why  ~
Monday, January 25, 2016
Fun with numbers
Now there are many people in this world that go through cars like toilet paper, and have multiple cars, etc. Not me. I spend far too much time researching a car i plant to purchase, as i expect it to last me for a very, very long time. And as such, i take meticulous care of it to ensure it indeed does.
Two years ago, i purchased a new car, a 2008 Honda Pilot to replace the last love of my life that carried me for 10 years, my Ford Ranger.

Being the total geek that i am, i decided to tracking my mileage and gas purchases for the two full years since i got my Pilot, from January of 2014 to January 2016. And the result? It's actually pretty cool. Not only does it give you an insight into my auto usage & Pilot efficiency, but it also takes a snapshot into the microcosm of the oil & gas industry in California at the time.
To accomplish this, i must give a shout out to the FREE Android app that made it all happen: The Gas Mileage Tracker.

Ok here we go. First here's a shot of prices. The left axis is the price per gallon i paid at the pump during fill-up. I decided to graph it V.S. Crude Oil futures on the right axis.

While it tracks appropriately for the first year, things take a turn for the worst. I've always suspected that the gas refinery companies totally SCREW you based on their cost for acquiring Crude, here is proof positive that this really happens. Gas prices should right now be near $2. They are upwards to $3, 50% more than they should be. And look at the gouging that took place between March and October of last year. There is NO reason for such massive spikes other than to line their pockets. Unbelievable.

Luckily, crude prices are completely crashing, so even with massive overcharging, the gas companies won't be able to justify such inflated prices, and we should see prices very close to $2/gallon in the near future.

This second graph shows the Miles per Gallon that my 2008 Honda Pilot attains. From my experience, the "official" MPG numbers posted on cars always too high and not practical. I don't know where they come up with those, but in this graph i track actual mileage of my car. The "LIST" MPG for my car is 16 City, 22 Highway.

Average miles per gallon for 2008 Honda Pilot (two full years): 16.56 MPG
With a majority of those miles being on the 405 freeway, cruising in the carpool lane, i would expect at minimum 19 MPG. Another FAIL for the auto efficiency ratings industry.

Here are some other miscellaneous numbers pulled from the data set.
Miles Driven per year: 11,598
This is a daily commute of 4 miles round trip to work, with every weekend spent driving to OC with the kids at 100 miles round trip. The Federal Highway Administration lists average annual miles driven for males age 35-55 at 18,858, With an overall annual mileage in California of 13,500. So i'm below average, which is awesome.
And the final, most important number.
Annual Cost for Gasoline: $2,378.

OK. So what are the lessons learned here? Let's break them out.
- The gasoline refinery industry is unscrupulous and greatly overcharges for gasoline to line their pockets with profit.
- List MPG on cars are always overstated and unrealistic. Never expect to hit those numbers, as they are recorded in ideal and un-reproducible conditions.
- Annual cost for Gasoline in California is expected to be around $2,500 for an SUV.

I hope you had fun and learned something from this! Cheers, and enjoy.

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