What's the reason?
Several readers turned to the editorial office of tut.by. They noticed that fuel consumption increased dramatically by one liter to two. They all claim that they drove as usual, the cars are in good condition and there has been no sudden weather change lately.
Is something wrong with our fuel?
"Consumption increased by two liters."
Jauhen says he works for one of the taxi services. He has a car - Citroen Xantia with a two-liter HDI diesel engine. The driver explained that he used to fill 20 liters, and it was enough for 270-280 km. About a week ago, he noticed that after filling the same 20 liters he had already driven 210 km (9.5 liters per 100 km). According to him, about a dozen of his colleagues also complained about a similar problem on Viber. Those who drive new cars appealed to the official service but found no technical problems. Jauhen explains the increased consumption with the deterioration of fuel quality.
Our reader Aleh told one more story. He drives Peugeot 406 with a gasoline engine of 1.8 liters. He has a standard route - home - work, work-home. It's about 22 km. He used to consume 7.5-7.6 litres. Then he notices that the consumption went up to 8.8 liters. He checked up the plugs. Everything was fine. He tried filling up at different filling stations - the consumption was still higher.
There are more than ten such appeals to the editorial office. The drivers say that they drive as usual and follow their usual routes, checked the fuel equipment, changed filters, but the fuel consumption suddenly went up by one or two liters.
Journalists and experts found three versions to explain the situation.
Version one: fuel quality changed
In general, it is considered that Belarusian fuel is of good quality. Still, it is worth remembering the recent scandal with low-quality oil detected in the Druzhba oil pipeline. According to official information, Mozyr Oil Refinery managed to process 563 thousand tons of organochlorine-contaminated oil. The oil products made from the polluted raw materials might have been added to the products of "clean" oil. However, this does not mean that the fuel does not meet the standards anymore. As they say, the quality of gasoline has not deteriorated, it has changed.
- The quality of the fuel certainly has an impact on consumption. The quality of combustion, the presence or absence of various additives, dirt. Poor gasoline or diesel fuel can increase consumption by 10-15%, explains Dzmitry Perlin, technical expert of the official dealer of the popular Japanese brand. - One of the reasons is the drop in engine power, which the driver compensates by the pressure on the gas pedal. It may be not so evident. Speaking about gasoline engines, there is spark-plug fouling, no complete combustion of a fuel occurs.
However, according to the expert, increased consumption usually associates with the quality of fuel and causes other symptoms - unstable engine operation, engine speed dips, traction drop.
- As for our dealer service, we had no complaints about a sudden increase in fuel consumption, assured Dzmitry Perlin.
Another dealer service also claims that no mass complaints about increased fuel consumption have been received. Such complaints happen sometimes.
Version two: mass underfuelling
Some readers suspect filling stations of underfuelling. But how real is this?
- Modern filling stations are automated and human intervention is almost zeroed. If underfuelling does occur, it is likely a failure of automatics or equipment," says the director of one of the major filling stations in the capital. - At the same time, all the filling stations are checked up once a week by independent bodies to ensure the correct operation of filling stations.
Moreover, a driver who doubts the accurate filling can immediately contact the filling station administration on the spot and ask them to carry out a control refuelling in a so-called "reference gauging tank".
- This is a special certified container for 10 or 50 liters. At the customer's request, they pour fuel into it. A deviation of 100 ml is allowed for 50 liters.
Version three: strong wind
According to the technical specialist of one of the dealer services, fuel consumption may increase due to specific weather conditions - the temperature of 2-3 degrees and high humidity. Under such conditions, fuel has poor acceleration.
It is well-known that fuel consumption grows when it is frosty. It's not about this winter and this version is not valid. But another important factor is the wind. Specialists say that a headwind of 5 m/s is equivalent to a car going 18 km/h faster. When driving in the countryside, it causes a 5-10% increase in fuel consumption. One can assume that wind will affect fuel consumption less within a city. However, it's a challenge for those driving out of town.
We have reviewed the archive of weather reports in Minsk for the previous 21 days. We found out the days when the wind speed was not less than 5 m/sec. There were eight windy days. Two of them had the wind of 7 m/sec. In February, there were several days when forecasters announced Hazard category 2 - wind speed sometimes reached 21 m/s. In January, the weather was also windy: for two days the wind reached 18 m/sec, for six days the wind speed was 7-9 m/sec. So, if drivers actively used their cars those days, they could consume more fuel than usual.