One for the Boy Racers out there

The following information came to me via email in the past couple of weeks and it made me ponder…

When I want to fill my car with petrol, I am inclined to do so without thinking about the time of day or the way I carry out the chore. Yes, I see it as a chore to be completed in the shortest time possible. Maybe now I will pay more attention!

Out latest fuel prices are outlined here.


I don’t know what you guys are paying for Petrol…. but here in Melbourne we are paying up to $1.30 to $1.50 per litre. My line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money’s worth for every Litre:

Here at the Shell Pipeline where I work in Melbourne, we deliver about 4 million litres in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline.. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and Petrol, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 Litres.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the Petrol, when it gets warmer Petrol expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your litre is not exactly a litre. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the Petrol, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. You should be pumping on low mode, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping.

All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you’re getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your Petrol tank is HALF FULL.

The reason for this is the more Petrol you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Petrololine evaporates faster than you can imagine. Petrol storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the Petrol and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every litre is actually the exact amount. 

Another reminder, if there is a Petrol truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy Petrol, DO NOT fill up; most likely the Petrol is being stirred up as the Petrol is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles
on the bottom.

So, what do you think?

8 thoughts on “One for the Boy Racers out there

  1. Baino

    Well it’s worth a try. Sadly I tend to wait until I’m on a wing and a prayer before I fill because Tuesdays are cheap here, well relatively cheap. It’s around $1.33 at the moment but can jump without notice to $1.50 without a tanker in sight. I don’t understand why our petrol prices are set by the Singapore fuel market but they are. Mind you, 75% of our fuel prices are tax. Although I thought temperatures underground are more consistent. The temperature of a cave for instance, doesn’t change despite the season.

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Rhyelysgranny – I suppose if you fill up when the tank is half full, it won’t feel so painful on the pocket.

    Baino – I wish we had cheap Tuesdays over here.

  3. Rummuser

    For the past twenty odd years I have been using two filling stations and have not had any problems with the quantity or quality so far. These two stations are quite popular for their straight forward dealings and I trust them to do the right thing. Since, filling the storage tanks are always done in the nights when there is less customer crowds, I have not had to fill during such an occasion, so I would not know.

  4. Mike Goad

    I wouldn’t have thought that the ground temperature would vary enough to make a difference.

    This year I haven’t filled my five year old pickup truck’s tank very often. Besides the regular fuel tank, it’s got a 45 gallon auxiliary tank. I don’t always use the aux tank — just when it looks like the price is going to go up. So far, I’ve managed to hit it right. When it’s topped off, I can go 6 to 8 weeks without refueling as I just use it for going back and forth to work, for the most part.

    A grocery store chain that we use also has fuel stations and, as a loss leader, we can get up to 10 cents a gallon off if we’ve “earned” enough points in the store.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – I don’t think that in all my years of driving, I filled the car with petrol with a tanker on the forecourt.

    Mike – Our Supermarkets from time to time offer 5 pence a litre off the normal cost of petrol or diesel, if we spend at least £50 pounds in one go. The trouble is that they do not tell you in advance that the offer is coming up.


A penny for your thoughts...