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September Driving

November 7th, 2020 at 01:29 pm

September Miles Driven:

Teenager Gas car: 5

Hybrid Electric car: 214

All-Electric car: 1,556

Total fuel costs September: $43.52

Note: This was our last month of higher summer electric rates.

**Note: We received 470 FREE electric miles last month.**

I would have guessed 10 miles on the kids' car. It was a whole whopping 5 miles. That was probably just one trip to the orthodontist. We had mostly been putting miles on the hybrid, so I drove the newer car to work some, in addition to a lot of test runs and some staycation drives. It probably works out to 650 miles commute and 700 miles bigger trips. With the two Bay Area trips and the two Tahoe trips, that makes sense. I don't foresee much driving (October), aside from my commute. I will probably drive somewhat 50/50. I want to put more miles on the newer car, to make up for all the miles we piled on the hybrid the last two years. But... I don't want to drive it all the time. There are some things I like better in my car.

Pretty much I am the only one driving anywhere (more than a couple of miles here and there) so I guess it's up to me. It will probably mostly sort out 50/50. Once the pandemic is over and/or we can equalize the miles on the cars, I can see favoring my car. We abandoned his/her cars when we had kids. I can see maybe settling a bit more into his/hers with our current cars. It's easier because they are both similar and same year, so no one's going to feel "stuck with an older car" or anything like that. & they are both so similar in size and fuel costs and everything. But... Will see how we feel about that after the pandemic. For now, I have two cars to choose from. We will be fighting over the all-electric car on weekday evenings and weekends (post pandemic). Probably whoever is driving farther gets the all-electric.

We had been switching sides in the garage, to refuel the electric car during the weekend. But we quickly figured out this is unnecessary. The cord will reach over the nearest car to the other car. This will save some hassle. I charge my car when I get home every night (I plug it in and set it to charge overnight). So we just have to remember to charge the other car Saturday or Sunday night. Long term, that should be more than sufficient. Maybe extra charging if we plan a bigger trip. I think when things normalize, I will also be better able to track real fuel costs. For now, I am just doing rough estimates based on overnight electricity costs.

I believe that MH and I both gave up a Free 100 miles. or 200 miles total. I realized my last free charge was going to expire, but the air quality was too questionable to be worth the free $2. It probably sounds ridiculous to take the time/effort to go sit and recharge for 45 minutes. But... After sitting so many hours and waiting for kids in recent years, I kind of miss the forced silence. To me, it sounds nice. Just being stuck somewhere, without anything productive to do and no one vying for my time. Plus, we've only had the electric car for a month. In my mind, 100 miles costs at least $10 (gas price). I think that is more to the point. MH did end up going out of town one day, but he took DL(15) up to Tahoe and there is all free chargers on that route, so he didn't bother to go out of his way to use up his extra free charge.

I was thinking that I hadn't put any gas in the hybrid since March? That was what I was recalling and I realized I probably needed to burn off some/all of the gas. Gas will go bad over time. But I put a pin on it while the air quality has been so bad here. (Logical or not, I just figured I didn't want to suck more ash or whatever into the engine). In the end, the car made the decision for me. We did experience "maintenance mode" when looking at Volts, before we purchased. So... I knew not to freak out. But when I left work one day it went into 'maintenance mode' and started burning off gas. What I had not realized is that you can still drive while it does that. (The car salesman smartly said, "Let's just wait," because you aren't going to get the feel of driving an electric car while it is doing some all out maintenance to the engine. But it had left me with the impression that you had to wait it out). So... It was a learning experience because I didn't realize it would start after driving the car. It would have really freaked me out if I had no idea what it was doing. In the end, I chose to burn off an extra 10 miles of gas because I was going to run some errands after work, and figured might as well. I didn't have enough electric miles to hit all my errands, and it's better to burn gas on the freeway (better mpg). Clearly I have a lot of gas to dump. It feels like throwing it down the drain, but it is what it is. When the pandemic started, our inclination was to hoard up gas (filled the hybrid), just for any worst case scenario.

In the end, I started thinking that I was pretty sure we drove to the Bay Area in July. So I looked it up and we did last put gas in the tank in July. The gas is not quite as old as I thought. It still feels like pouring money down the drain, but will probably plan one out-of-town trip with the hybrid and will run through the gas (before year-end). I am probably just going to put a gallon or something in it, of new gas, after that. Will see how long it lasts. The car needs some gas to function properly. But during the pandemic and with kids home and MH unemployed, I expect one gallon will last a very long time. When things normalize, will have more reason to run through the gas. In that case I might try 3 or 4 gallons and see how long it takes to get through. It's going to be weird. I can easily see us becoming a 100% electric-fuel household, even when things normalize. We do often have stuff going on after work, but if we just take the electric car for those trips, then that was pretty much the only reason we were using gas around town. Will have to use gas once in a while, but I already feel so, "Ugh," about it. It's just wasteful and expensive at this point. I've seen a lot of hybrid owners say they haven't bought gas in months or years. I am just experiencing this side of it for the first time.

I expect it will probably make more sense to keep a little more fuel in the tank and to just burn it off within 6 months or something. It's probably more practical to throw gas down the drain every 6 months (potentially) versus leaving very little gas in the car and having to go to the gas station more often. I honestly don't remember the last time I went to a gas station. Kind of the whole point is to not go to the gas station unless going out of town. So going from, "I don't remember when I last got gas" to "maintaining just one gallon of gas" sounds like an extraordinary hassle. But I think I need to try it in the interim. The other thing we can do is add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank to prolong the gas. I have some homework to do on that front. It's something we should probably consider also for MM(17)'s car. Until DL(15) gets his permit and starts practicing driving...

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