It is done

I have been trying hard to make it an entire year without buying gasoline. By “trying hard,” I don’t mean babying my Volt. Those that know me, know that I’ve had it to top speed numerous times and accelerate hard every time I take off from a stop. In other words, I drive it like I stole it.

The last time I bought gasoline was August 10, 2016. Yesterday, my 2017 Volt announced it was entering “fuel maintenance mode.” Fuel maintenance mode runs the internal combustion engine to take the gas tank to below 50% full. It will keep doing this, until the gas in the tank is diluted by adding new gasoline.

Today marked my 350th day or 50th week of not buying gasoline. I got in my Volt this morning and drove to work. When I stopped, at work, the drive summary display came up. Out of the approximately 15 miles I drove, 14.5 were on gasoline and the rest were electric. My MPG on gas was 46, better than the stated 42 MPG on the window sticker. However, the numbers told me some bad news. There was no way I was going to make it another two weeks without buying gasoline. The tank was going to be run to empty within six more round-trip commutes.

So, I drove to a Shell gas station, near work, and filled the gas tank. I realize I could have just put in three gallons, but my goal is to go as long as possible without having to go to a gas station. To do that, I have to start with a full tank.

And so it begins again… See you next year, Shell Oil! Maybe on the way home I’ll play a little Jackson Browne…

7 thoughts on “It is done

  1. The last time we filled our Volt was early march and we still have over half a tank in there.

    Now that we have our Bolt, our Volt’s engine has not started up once. I am thinking it will stay that way until next year.

  2. What will happen to the oil industry when 10% of the cars on the road never or rarely buy gasoline? Or 50%?

    The high cost reserves will never be developed because lax demand for gasoline will keep the price of oil too low. Hooray!

    • It will be similar to the collapse in oil prices in the early 1980s. At that time, I was a manufacturing engineer, in the oil & gas industry. Houston was devastated for a decade. Good, hardworking people had their lives destroyed. I was in management, so I was spared from the layoffs for a while. By the time the axe came for me, there were no jobs out there. Half the homes in my neighborhood were abandoned and sold at auction. A two-story home, on my street, sold for such a low price, the buyer put it on his credit card. No realtor would list our home, because we owed so much more than it was worth. Needless to say, we lost our home and left Houston, destitute.

      When the oil bust comes, and it will, good, hardworking people will suffer terribly.

      Our leaders should be working now to establish training programs for those, in the oil & gas industry, to prepare them for new careers, in renewable energy.

      But they won’t.

      Their masters have them trying to protect a doomed industry, instead of protecting its doomed workers. These workers include degreed engineers, process planners, CNC programmers, etc. They are hard-working, proud people.

      Unless the rest of us push the politicians to do their job, history will repeat itself on an horrific scale.

      • hi Buzz,

        I read your piece and I recall those horrific days as i had moved to Texas. I had heard of prices so low for housing in Houston and folks had lost their homes.

        I love these electric cars but i am deeply concerned for the workers in Oil and in the Auto Industry. I feel a lot of bad things are ahead of us for these hard working folks.

        I don’t wish these people any harm and I hope they can go through this growing pain with minimal damage.

        This is a necessary evolution and it will happen with our without us.

        In 50 years the cities will be less polluted and the rate of a lot of cancer and other ailments will go down. With the self-driving cars around the corner, the lives of more than 1.2 million people killed in auto accidents will be spared along thousand who get injured. This may in turn start a new revolution as more mobility is available to all of us and we can enjoy life in a different level.

        Automation and robots are coming and less work will be available ; this is a fact. This is the same reason we have moved aware from caves and jungles, it is called progress and nobody can stop this movement.

        I just hope every will come out better and we can live in peace and harmony. I was reading how at the start of the industrial revolution, the workers would go and and smash the shops as they thought it would destroy their livelihood. Well Industrial age, having been bad for them, began an amazing period of progress (not all good) for humanity.

        This change is fueled by electronics and technologies and nobody can stop this. In the year 1900 there were hardly in any cars on the road and by the year 1913, almost all horses were replaced by gasoline cars. Technology is moving usually with “S” curve and once it hits that price point it will move so fast nobody would believe it.

        This would also decrease a lot of fighting in the world. A lot of problems in the world currently is due the energy and companies and their “business territories”. The electronics and new devices will disrupt all these at once. The money will not be concentrated in the hands of Opec or the cartels or Putin or the Saudi Arabia. This will lower the chance of conflict and we will enter a more peaceful era where more important aspects of life will come to forefront.

        To a better day for all of us.

        • If anything, change is going to accelerate. As a nation, we should recognize that retraining the displaced workers of dying industries (coal, oil, etc) pays dividends to ALL citizens. When oil collapsed, the government experienced a massive drop, in tax revenue because the oil companies, businesses that supported them (tooling vendors, hot shot services, CAD software vendors, airlines, helicopter ferry services, etc) and their former employees were paying much less in income taxes and property taxes. Property values, in cities like Houston plummeted, but they also did in resort towns, as people who could previously afford condos or summer houses, no longer could.

          To continue to compete in a global economy, we will need trained workers for the new industries starting to flourish, like solar and wind energy, for example. There will be less social upheaval, less conflict, more stable real estate markets and therefore more stable government budgets, if we prepare for the coming changes. Other countries have already moved into competitive positions with us, like Japan, China and India. Others, we currently think of as third world, will as well. Brazil and Mexico come to mind.

          I read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” The premise is that we can all see these trends. We are discussing them in media. But still, the vast majority of people will wake up, one day soon, with no job and no skills applicable in the new economy, wondering where their livelihoods went. I found out the hard way that it is my responsibility to prepare myself for changes that I see on the horizon. Preparation would be much more manageable, if we could put a percentage of our income away, tax free, to be used for continuing education. For example, if employers would allow their employees to take every fifth year off, in order to go back to school, the employees, the businesses and our society would reap the benefits of a workforce that is constantly up-to-date and ready to compete successfully with any workforce in the world.

          These are issues and strategies we should be debating today, instead of after the cheese has gone missing.

  3. Hi Buzz,

    This is Ray. Came to See you last week. Wanted to congratulate you on the new Chevy Bolt EV introduction. This is an amazing car and it will do great. As I told you about 3.5 years ago i got me some solar panels. About 1.5 years ago i got me a used 2013 Chevy and i loved it so much i got me a used 2013 Nissan Leaf after 2 weeks. I just love these cars and specially the Chevy Bolt is an amazing car. The battery is so well designed and it works just wonderfully. I look forward to come and check the Chevy Bolts soon. In the past 18 months i have put about 25 gallons of gas in the Volt to make sure the engine won’t go bad on me. I did not have to do this as these 2 cars give me about 120 miles of range per day more than enough for any daily commute. As for my trips to the gas station, it is wonderful not to worry about the price of gasoline and I don’t miss the visit at all!!!!

    Good luck to you my friend,


  4. Pingback: Not driving electric because of “range anxiety?” You already have it! | My Electric Vehicle Journey

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