As most drivers know, gas prices often go up during the summer months starting around Memorial Day. Summer travel creates an increase in demand, refineries have to undergo spring maintenance which limits production, and natural disasters like hurricanes can disrupt international distribution chains.
But gasoline sold during the summer is also chemically different than gas sold in the winter, and the difference in chemical make-up is an often overlooked contributor to the price change. In this article, we’ll talk about what the difference is and why it’s important to monitor your fuel consumption when prices change.
During the summer, pollution is a frequent concern as summer heat boosts the formation of ozone and can trap pollutants in the lower atmosphere. Summer blend fuels contain different additives, or oxygenates, which allow it to burn cleaner and reduce smog and other toxic air pollutants.
Summer-grade fuel also has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) than winter-grade fuel, which contributes to its being marginally more eco-friendly. A lower RVP, or volatility, prevents excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. It also helps prevent drivability problems such as vapor lock on hot days, especially in older vehicles.
With naturally higher prices, it can be easy to ignore increased gas spending during summer months. But drivers should beware, as dramatic increases in gas consumption can be an indicator of bigger issues. Leaky fuel pipes or hoses, a broken fuel injector, lack of oil, or even bad tires, can all cause you to be wasting fuel and money. If you notice you’re using more gallons of gas than usual, and your driving habits haven’t changed, it’s a good idea to visit your local mechanic.
At V&F, we offer complete fuel system repair and maintenance, including fuel injection repair and service, to ensure that your car is using fuel as efficiently as possible. Call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.