So in West Virginia I paid $3.99.9 for a gallon of gasoline.  It was 93 octane since my car demands it.  Turbo, remember?

It left me wondering if we should move to a price of liters instead of gallons.  It might not change the final total, but you wouldn’t feel quite so shocked – maybe.

Finding 91 octane is quite a chore on this side of the Mississippi.  Some places only offer 89.5 (yes, there really is a decimal point) as the top rating.  I have found a place that sells 92 octane and I will be doing my fill-up there for sure.


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5 Responses to Gasoline

  1. Jim's Sister says:

    We’ve been watching, and oil has been going up a buck a day – today’s high was $124 a barrel. As a rule airlines spend about 35% of their operating budget on fuel, but lately they have been spending about 45%. When it reaches $150 a barrel and they are over 50% of their budget, that’s when you’ll see them all lining up to file for bankruptcy. The only airlines not in trouble at the moment is Southwest Airlines. They hedged on the price of fuel at $52, and that’s what they will be paying for the rest of the year. it’s also why they can sell a one-way ticket between Baltimore and Raleigh for $50 while American’s price is over $400. Makes me wish I had a few billion to do a little hedging myself.

  2. Noel Ward says:

    Jim, doesn’t the Evo have a system to dial back the power and protect the engine if you don’t have premium? I had this 22 years ago in my GTI and today, while my turbo Saabs prefer premium, they will run without risk of engine damage, even on regular–they just don’t have full power–down about 10-15 hp is my guess. The ECU automatically adapts to the lower octane gas. Maybe it’s because your engine is so highly tuned, but I’m surprised there isn’t a system to accommodate lower octane.

  3. jimsgarage says:

    Noel – You are correct. The ECU has a map for when I run into low octane fuel. The knock sensor counts knock and when the count reaches a predetermined level over time it switches to the low octane map. That one not only richens up the mixture, but it also pulls the timing. Naturally I dislike when this happens. 🙂

    When I had the ECU tuned for the modifications – I made sure that it would retain a set of maps so that I could suffer through lower octane gasoline such as 91. I just hope I don’t have to suffer with 89.5 octane.

  4. Noel says:

    Jim, OK, I figured the EVO would have some mapping for low octane. And when you’re used to full power, low octane is NOT fun.

    Saabs don’t use a knock sensor, but have electronics in the Direct Ignition units that use the spark plugs to read changes in the ignition process taking place in the combustion chamber. This way they sense knock before it actually occurs and dial back boost, enrich the fuel/air mix, etc. To do this, Saabs require a resistor-type plug from NGK for the DI units to work correctly.

    The Saab T5 to T8 ECUs are adaptive both to octane and driving style. If you run lower octane gas or drive gently, it just adapts down and you don’t get full power. It reacts immediately to a tank of premium (you can feel it almost right away), but to really get it back to full power requires an adaptation run (a Swedish tune-up). On the T5, for example, this is a full throttle run keeping max boost between 2500 to 3500 rpm for 4-6 seconds. A couple of these are usually needed. I get the best results out of a steep hill (like 5-6% grade) in 5th gear, but it requires an empty road (and no cops) as this is between 70 and 90 mph. Even better results come out of an uphill, full boost run in 5th to over 100. But there aren’t many places to do that. Using a hill puts a much greater load on the engine and the ECU responds with the optimal, full power mapping. If no hills are available, just driving hard–a few full boost runs to redline in 2nd through 4th–get the ECU back to full power mapping.

    Remapping the Saab ECU for more power retains all the low octane protection–I don’t think it can be overidden, even when the stock ECU (200 hp) is tweaked to give over 300.

  5. markitude says:


    I’m seeing Diesel here at $4.32. There may be a bit of a delay, but I believe we are going to start seeing a real run up materials. I also believe that the investment behaviors with oil and gas options are driving the prices more than demand.

    We can talk china and India all we want, but I just don’t believe demand is growing this fast in a matter of months.

    I thought about this the other day. When I was 18 and working minimum wage, a gallon of gas was about 1/3 of my gross wages for an hour. Today, both the wage and price per gallon are up, but gas is now almost 2/3 of the gross pay for an hour of minimum wage work. I think the economy will start to see pressure there too, and I also have to wonder about how the rising fuel costs will affect mortage and taxes.

    As I wrote, the growth is driving run ups in taxes, new taxes in terms of more toll roads, and incresed utility costs (water) driven by shortfalls in municipality reviews after those municipalities enforced usage conservation.

    I think we are heading for a correction and fast.

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