The Price of a Full Tank: The Small Versus Big


            The mileage war continues to rage here on the shores of the Unites States. There are those that have embraced the wave of fuel efficient cars, ranging from the hybrid class to the number of sedans with the choice to opt for smaller engines.

            Standing in stark contrast to these new fuel efficient drivers are the members of the fading gas guzzler class. These drivers proudly display upwards of 200 horsepower and the roar of their V8 engines. Gas guzzlers laugh in the face of rising gas prices and the call for smaller cars, standing beside the need for heavy duty vehicles to get any job finished.

            The question that remains is just how large is the rift in spending habits between the owners of their respective small and large car? Thankfully, that question will not remain unanswered, as Brian Carroll and Jon Stratton have offered to share just how much gas takes a toll on their wallets.

           Brian Carroll, a hospitality and business junior at Michigan State University, owns a 2005 Honda Civic LX. His civic sports a four cylinder engine, half the size of the beastly V8 gas guzzler. With a smaller 1.7 liter engine the Civic can crank out 115 horsepower. Featuring a 13.2 gallon tank and boasting up to 26 MPG city driving.

Honda Civic LX (C) IFCAR

            Carroll described himself as the kind of driver that waits until the gas light flares up on the dashboard to fill up. Waiting until the last second means paying more at the pump per visit in the pursuit of a full tank. In a given month, he says he finds himself at the pumps once every two weeks. On both occasions, he topped off the tank, spending anywhere from $67 to $75 (based on low of $2.56 and high of $2.85 per gallon) depending on where he happens to fill up at.

            Jon Stratton, a civil engineering senior at MSU, frowns upon the thought of driving around in anything but his 2002 Ford F-150 Pickup 4WD. Stratton’s pickup is outfitted with the monstrous 4.6 liter, Ford V8 engine. Capable of cranking out 258 horsepower, the larger engine allowed for more power, but required more fuel to burn, resulting in the steep 13 MPG mileage rating.

Ford F-150 Pickup 4WD (c) IFCAR

            Because of the stop and go nature of campus traffic and constant driving about, Stratton finds himself at the pump every week quelling his truck’s thirst for gasoline. With a fuel tank that can hold up to 19 gallons, he says he does not mind paying the little extra to keep his truck going. On average, Stratton has to pay anywhere from $195 to $217 (based on same figures from Civic example) a month.

            By having chosen the smaller engine over the beastly competition of the V8, Carroll’s Civic can save him around $142 a month compared to Stratton’s F-150.

            There are those that have embraced the movement towards increased efficiency in transportation and there are those that stay faithful to their guzzlers of gas. By sacrificing hard earned cash to the pump, they continue to parade their engines and speed past the hybrid competition. In the end, it is all a matter of personal opinion on which vehicle class is the best.

– John Dinger

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