The Automobile Gas Log

by Kevin on February 28, 2008

Several years ago I started tracking my gasoline expenses in a paper logbook that I keep in my glove box. I got the tip from a car enthusiast forum as a way to keep a heads up for car issues. I fill it out every time I fill up my gas tank.The logbook tracks:

  • The date
  • Total miles on odometer
  • Total miles on the previous tank of gas
  • Price (per gallon)
  • Total cost
  • Number of gallons

Pretty basic, but it holds a lot of data. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I love spreadsheets. So, you guessed it, I put the data into a spreadsheet. The idea is you can calculate your miles per gallon for the previous tank of gas. If your miles per gallon drops significantly (and your driving habits don’t change), you have a car issue of some kind. It’s a simple tool to help you catch something before it becomes a big problem (maybe your fuel filter needs to be swapped out). Don’t play the poker gamble that you’ll hit the the straight flush with your gas mileage. Don’t assume it’s been the same as when you first got your car. Tracking your mileage can keep you from getting surprised.

I now have data for the past six years — since 2002. There are some interesting trends within the data. Of course, gas prices have risen dramatically. The lowest recorded gas price per gallon I have is from February 2002 at $1.06. Ugh. Gas in our area is now at $3.09 and with oil above $100 barrel may hit $4 this summer.

From 2002 to present, I have averaged 26.255 miles per gallon. Not too shabby. You can tell where I am doing a lot of city driving versus going on long trips with hours on the highway. Sometime in the future I’ll throw up some of the charts that go along with the data.

Do you track your gas mileage in any way?

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