The Truth About Cars » gas The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:00:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » gas Piston Slap: Shark’s on a Purging Diet? Mon, 10 Sep 2012 12:50:31 +0000


TTAC reader Tiburon Guy writes:

2001 Tiburon (yep, this one again): Gassing up clicks like it’s full, even after only a dollar, then keeps clicking. Tank is at an 8th when fueling and yes, i’ve made sure it’s not the nozzle (and does it no matter where I go).

OBDII code PO441 Small Evap Leak (changed gas cap, no difference) Had a buddy pull the charcoal filter from the back of the car and cleaned it out, no difference. Becoming a big pain in the arse now since every time I gas up it spits out at me and takes literally 30+ minutes to fill up.

Please help!

Sajeev answers:

No offense to Mr. Tiburon Guy (he seems cool) but this query is precisely why we have message forums. P0441 is a code you type into a forum/search engine and get an immediate answer.  I like this website to get the ball rolling. It gives a good description of the problem(s) and the systems involved.

Once again, more shame: you just threw away money on a new gas cap for no good reason! I know it was the easy thing to do, but it wasn’t gonna work.  So here’s the deal, a P0441 code means several things:

1. Blocked up charcoal canister, perhaps cleaning the filter was never gonna fix anything?

2. Blocked or bad canister purge valve, or the vacuum/electrics behind it are toast. This is my guess to your problem. 

3. Physical damage to venting system, or fueling system.

A quick bit of googling came up with this thread on; mandatory reading before doing anything.  Then find a similar thread about the Tiburon instead. Once you have all the right information, examine the system for damage and follow their instructions.  If all else fails, buy the shop manual(s) and do it all step-by-step from there.  You will find your problem.  Best of luck.

Send your queries to Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

]]> 3
QOTD: How Can You Minimize The Cost Of Keeping A Car? Tue, 28 Aug 2012 14:20:16 +0000

Whether you drive a $30,000 or a $1,500 a car, one variable in life stays constant.

You want to minimize your costs.

The average owner in North America now spends well over $8,000 a year covering all the costs of their car. Gas, insurance, maintenance, repair, depreciation, taxes, financing… and even the occasional upgrade.

When they can afford it.

That’s one issue that I see as the crux of autos ownership for most folks. The means of ownership. Can they afford what they drive.

The struggling family that goes to a dealership and zeros in on the nearest Cadillac or Mercedes these days is just as culpable for their behavior as the fellow who considers cigarettes to be vegetables, and vegetables to be weeds.

They have an unhealthy destructive habit that is a reflection of a marketplace where the bad choices are just as easily available as the good ones.

Forget about big brother. This is overwhelmingly a matter of personal decisions. We can make it out to be as fair or unjust as we like. But in the end, there is a bluntness to all of it that can’t be denied.

On one side of the fence, we realize the Darwinian aspects of it all. People who make bad decisions face consequences. This is an outcome that is healthy for an economy because it extinguishes the unhealthy activities, and encourages the good ones… in due time.

But sometimes you also see the elements of a rigged game. The manipulative capitalize on the weaker elements of human nature. While the ones victimized often don’t know any better and continue to do worse.

After decades of looking at this learned victimization, you can’t help but wonder whether millions of people have been brought up to not live beyond a certain level of struggle and mediocrity. Even if they tried to get ahead, the scourges of debt and dependency would lead them to poverty because they simply don’t know what they need to know.

That’s the issue I have at this point. A lot of folks believe that ignorance and an arrogant attitude go hand in hand. In extreme cases they do. But when it comes to cars, ignorance is born more out of fear and apathy than anything else.

So how do you minimize the cost of owning a car? $8,000+ represents an awful lot of waste and opportunity. A lot of incremental improvements in the ownership experience could yield a better standard of living for an awful lot of folks.

Where should be the focus?

Should education and hands on experience be the primary drivers? Or should engineering and design be the driving forces that minimize cost?

I believe that the common person is simply taught to be ignorant when it comes to automobiles. They have other things to do with their lives. That’s not a big deal when you think about it, because the same level of apathy is true with most other tools and appliances.

A school teacher may get a better financial boost from learning how to repair cars, dishwashers, cell phones, and roofs. But society gets a far greater benefit from letting them teach instead of changing a timing belt.

We need teachers. Not timing belts.

So how can the market forces highlighted in that drawing above better serve the financial needs of an overwhelmingly apathetic public?

]]> 115
President Obama Says New CAFE Standards Will Save Average Driver $8,000 a Year. Thu, 15 Mar 2012 15:23:37 +0000 Last week in a speech at Daimler owned Freightliner truck plant, President Obama said that the new 55mpg CAFE standards will save a typical American family $8,000 a year on gasoline. That would be great news to most American drivers if it were true but the president took political science and law courses in college, not math. Or maybe his math isn’t off.

“When I ran for office, I went to Detroit and I gave a speech to automakers where I promised that I was going to raise fuel standards on our cars, so that they’d go further on a gallon of gas.  I said we should do the same thing on trucks.  I have to tell you, when I said it, I didn’t get a lot of applause in the room, because there was a time when automakers were resisting higher fuel standards — because change isn’t easy.  But you know what, after three decades of not doing anything, we got together with the oil companies, we got together with the unions, we got together with folks who usually do not see eye to eye, and we negotiated new fuel economy standards that are going to make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade.  That’s nearly double what they get today — nearly double.  (Applause.)

Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they’re going to — all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year.  And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week -– and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.”

A typical American family can’t save $8,000 a year on gas because a typical family in American doesn’t spend that much on gas a year in the first place. Using the president’s math, the average car gets 55/2=27.5mpg. The average driver drives about 12,000 miles per year, which works out to 436 gallons @ 27.5 mpg. Even at $4/gallon, that’s still only $1745/year. Cutting that hypothetical typical American driver’s gasoline bill in half will save $872.72 a year, not $8,000.

Reading over the transcript of the president’s remarks it’s possible the he simply misspoke. According to estimates, the new CAFE standards will save about $8,200 over the life of the vehicle, not in one year. Earlier in the speech Obama praised Freightliner’s participation in the federal “SuperTruck” initiative, whose target is saving $15,000/year per large truck. A big over the road truck travels so many miles in a year that a significant improvement in fuel economy could save that much. A typical American family, though, doesn’t drive their car 100,000 miles a year. So maybe the president confused savings per year with savings over the life of the vehicle and didn’t just make a bad math error.

On the other hand, there is one way that the president’s math works out. His recent press conference remarks about rising gas prices not being good for him politically are true. However, the president is talking about the savings that will take place in “the middle of the next decade”, meaning 2025, thirteen years hence, when he’ll be long out of office and earning six figure honoraria for his speeches. An average family could indeed save $8,000 a year if gasoline rises to $37/gal by 2025. While I believe that the president’s policies are aimed at making traditional energy more expensive in order to make alternative energy more financially viable, I sincerely doubt that even he would want a nine fold increase in the price of gasoline over the next decade.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading– RJS

]]> 180
Will Natural Gas Prevent Us From Reaching A Better Place? Thu, 08 Mar 2012 16:56:18 +0000

A brief piece in the Wall Street Journal’s “Dealbook” discussed the potential of natural gas powered vehicles, largely as a way to stop falling prices for natural gas.

One hope for many natural gas producers reeling from collapsing prices is wider adoption of natural-gas-powered cars.

The biggest hurdle so far: lack of infrastructure to refuel them.

But Steven Mueller, CEO of Southwestern Energy, says if 10% of passenger cars were powered by natural gas, gasoline prices would fall by $1.60/gallon and gas producers would get 4 billion cubic feet/day in demand.

The global supply of natural gas is way up, thanks to shale deposits in the United States and other locales. Currently, the Honda Civic GX is the best-known CNG vehicle on sale currently. Buses, taxis and other commercial vehicles have been running on CNG for years, but Dodge is set to introduce a Ram Tradesman that can run on CNG – other work trucks have been converted to run on natural gas by their owners (at significant expense), but this looks to be one of the first OEM-engineered work trucks with this capability.

An NPR report (sponsored by a natural gas lobby group) touched on President Obama’s visit to a big rig factory, some of which were powered by natural gas. Obama proposed – you guessed it - tax incentives for alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas. Natural gas vehicles aren’t that popular around the world, but have a certain following – Brazilian Fiat Siena taxicabs, LPG powered Volvos and the famous Panther platform Crown Vics and Town Cars that serve as taxi and livery cars in Toronto all exist, albeit in very small numbers.

Natural gas could potentially be a “black swan event” for the auto industry, a cheap, clean-burning fuel that could allow for both domestic energy independence and the continued hegemony of the internal combustion engine. Drivers wouldn’t have to worry about foreign oil, range anxiety or battery bricking.

The obvious problem is the lack of infrastructure. Natural gas filling stations are scant, to put it mildly. But there are rumblings (so far unsubstantiated – but keep watching TTAC for more info) that building filling stations, be it for hydrogen or other fuels, is easier and cheaper than trying to develop serious long-range, quick charging, sustainable and affordable battery technology. If this turns out to be true, then it suggests that electric cars will be forever relegated to “second car/commuter car” status.

A final note: Israel, home of Better Place and their battery swapping stations, is said to have enormous shale oil and gas deposits (so much for the joke about the Israelites wandering for 40 years and finding no oil). Aside from the obvious geopolitical implications, what kind of future would that leave for the Better Place program?


]]> 105
Piston Slap: Denso’d into Needless Markup? Mon, 19 Dec 2011 19:00:10 +0000

TTAC commentator/writer David Holzman writes:


My ’99 Accord 5speed with 200k on the clock needs a new gas tank. The fuel pump is inside the gas tank. Should I get a new fuel pump with that gas tank? Changing the tank will cost about $600; including a fuel pump will add $300. I’m planning to keep this car another year and a half to two years, at which point it will have about 230k.

(I will replace it with whatever version of the Toyota FT86 reaches our shores provided the car does well repair-wise in its first year, and provided I like it as much as Bertel’s review suggested I would.)

PS: can you get this one up ASAP? I need to get the tank before I go on a road trip Dec. 24.

Sajeev Answers:

$300 for a fuel pump?  Please check the prices on and verify your shop isn’t marking up their parts costs.

That said, I don’t know if the pump needs to be replaced, there’s a good chance it will last 2 years. Even if it fails, you don’t need to drop the tank to install a new one. Tough call.  A fuel pump should be more like $100-150 and labor should be nearly nothing considering the tank is dropped.

David replies:


I suspect the $300 was for an OEM fuel pump. On Rockauto, they start at around $30, and a number of them are 100 and change. I guess one thing that makes me nervous is the thought of switching from my original to a non-OEM. I mean, it wouldn’t completely surprise me if the original went for a few more years and a non-OEM quit after a few years.

Sajeev Concludes:

I suspect that $300 was for the complete fuel pump assembly.  Wait no, I never suspect that. As a tireless cynic when it comes to random mechanics giving quotes to my readers, I always go for the worst.  That said, Rockauto sells the Denso fuel pump (OE part) for $118.00…and Denso stuff ain’t no joke, this is what you need.

Would a nameless, faceless shop charge over 200% markup for the same part you can buy online?  Perhaps. It wouldn’t be the first time, son! Wrap up: there’s no wrong answer, replace or no.  The only problem is the cost of said part.

Send your queries to . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

]]> 37