That silly fuel totalizer that is part of the computer system is about as worthless as a politicians handshake. I only calculate fuel mileage by hand although I do compare it to the computer. So far I've never been able to figure out a correlation between actual and what the computer thinks the mileage is.
Originally Posted by Joe
Could you explain more about the natural gasoline. I guess it is used to get cheaper regular gas to light better at lower temperature but does it have less energy than normal regular gas stock? Would your mileage improve any by switching to premium in a cold climate regions during the winter? Do you think it would offset the increased cost?
Natural gasoline is produced during the separation of methane (natural gas that you burn in your stove), propane and butane as well as other light hydrocarbons and is mostly done at processing and compressor plants out in the oil fields. The average octane is around 65 and it has a boiling point of 115°F. The typical vapor pressure is between 9 and 25 or thereabouts although it can be higher but seldom is high vapor pressure NG used for anything an consumer might get their hands on in raw form if ever.
Because of its low boiling point and relatively high vapor pressure it really isn't suitable as a motor fuel by itself, in an engine with a carb it easily vapor locks. When I was a kid my grandpa and I used to drive his old pickup out to the oil patch and fill up 5 gallon jerry cans with the stuff for a penny a gallon. He'd then blend it with Ethyl premium (97 octane) and run it in his pickup around town, the performance left something to be desired and did lead to a few walks home when it got hot out.
As I stated earlier, NG is nowadays used in certain regions as a filler in regular fuels. Processed NG from the oil fields is shipped to refineries in Denver, Billings, Casper, Salt Lake etc. to be used in blending of regular fuels both branded and unbranded plus to render ethanol to a non-food fuel. The company I work for ships tens of thousands of gallons of the stuff weekly to the above locations by truck and hundreds of thousands of gallons weekly travel by rail. I can't speak for other parts of the country but the area that I deal with uses a bunch of the stuff. Also as I said, it CAN NOT be used in premium fuels of any sort. The reason so much of it is used is that there's very little "refining" that has to be done to the stuff and it pretty much sells for about the same price as crude making it ready for blending at a very low comparable price to crude refined gasoline.
Back in the olden days it just wasn't financially viable to ship the stuff given that crude was so low in price. In todays world the oil companies will go to great lengths to cut production price and increase the bottom line, NG is one of the methods and has been approved by the EPA for this use although the public remains largely ignorant of its existence.
As far as your question about switching to premium in cold climates here again I'd have to defer to the owners manual and the engineers who spent countless dollars of the manufacturer to determine what is best for the engine. It always cracks me up that there are people out there who will try to outsmart the designers and engineers. Todays combustion chambers are extremely efficient and the old "wedge head" configurations have largely disappeared. The familiar "PING" that anybody who ever road a Harley knows about is rather uncommon and if you do hear it there is a substantial problem. Just 'cause you can't hear the little guy inside your engine beating it to death with a ball peen hammer doesn't mean he isn't there.
Personally, if a manufacturer recommends a specific minimum octane fuel I use that as a "minimum" octane for the engine. There are other things regarding premium fuels that would fill a book that regular doesn't have and since we don't run carbs anymore I have a tendency to error on the side of caution. I got tired of working on engines a number of years ago and I have no desire to replace things like injectors or valves because I decided that I was smarter than the company who spent millions of dollars designing a specific engine configuration to run on a specific fuel. I happen to trust the guys with the slide rules.
Now if you want to build a hot rod engine and push design limits then that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. The Victory 106 is nowhere near its design limits regarding horsepower and there's a lot of ways to play with it and those that chose to do so can have a lot of fun in the process. What I'm talking about in the above post though is those of us who chose to leave pretty well alone and live with the paltry 100+ horsepower than the bike came with.
There are probably those of you reading this who will take what I am saying as rather arrogant and maybe it is, it would be the first time somebody accused me of arrogance.