Charles “Mac” McPherson knows a lot about the petroleum industry. With over 35 years of experience, he has guided McPherson through dynamic times in this industry. The petroleum industry continues to navigate through challenging times. This industry has a definite impact on our daily lives because petroleum products touch virtually every industry. The impact of petroleum products spans the spectrum from global economics to knowing what type of motor oil you should put in your car With our “Ask Mac” question and answer session, Mac will be providing information to many of the questions people have about petroleum products.
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I keep hearing about your Fuelz card on the Rick and Bubba show as well as other stations on the radio. How do I find more information on this program and what are some local stations that accept the Fuelz card?
McPherson has been in the fleet fuel management business for 40 years, and in all that time we’ve learned a few things about taking care of fleets, whether they have 5 vehicles or 500.
Please visit our website www.fuelzcard.com for more information on our Fleet card program that utilizes the Fuelman network.
How much lubricant is in a barrel of crude oil?
Source: 2012 Lubricant Industry Factbook
What is ethanol?
Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, has the chemical formula C2H5OH. It is the same alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, but ethanol also makes an effective motor fuel. There have been decades of motor fuel application experience in the United States and other countries with ethanol.
How is ethanol being used as transportation fuel?
Most ethanol used for fuel is being blended into gasoline at concentrations of 5 to 10 percent. In California, ethanol has replaced methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as a gasoline component. More than 95 percent of the gasoline supplied in the state today contains 6 percent ethanol. There is a small but growing market for E85 fuel (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), several million of which have been produced by U.S. automakers. But E85 is primarily found in the Midwest in corn-producing states. Ethanol is also being used to formulate a blend with diesel fuel, known as "E-Diesel", and as a replacement for leaded aviation gasoline in small aircraft.
What are ethanol's characteristics as a motor fuel?
Ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline. That means that about one-third more ethanol is required to travel the same distance as on gasoline. But other ethanol fuel characteristics, including a high octane rating, result in increased engine efficiency and performance.
The 15 percent gasoline used to formulate E85 is to assure cold weather engine starting and to enhance flame luminosity in case of fire. In low-percentage blends with gasoline, ethanol results in increased vapor pressure, which can be adjusted for in the fuel formulation process and/or controlled with on-board vehicle systems. All gasoline vehicles in use in the U.S. today can accept gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol (sometimes called gasohol). Flexible Fuel Vehicles (VVFs) are cars and trucks that can use any level of ethanol up to 85 percent. They're built with special fuel system components designed to be compatible with higher ethanol concentrations.
What are the economics of ethanol compared to gasoline?
The cost of producing ethanol remains significantly higher than the cost of producing fuels from petroleum. The federal government, since 1978, has given tax incentives intended to make ethanol competitive with gasoline in the motor fuel marketplace. Continued progress with both conventional and advanced ethanol production technologies could someday result in ethanol production costs competitive with petroleum fuels.
With the price is fuel rising daily, how can I get better gas mileage?
Here are five tips that can help you drive more efficiently.
- Drive Sensibly: Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
- Observe the Speed Limit: While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.27 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer.
- Remove Excess Weight: Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
- Use Cruise Control: Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas
- Use Overdrive Gears: When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
Does gas have an expiration date?
In general, gasoline should be used within a month of purchase. When the engine will not be used for an extended period of time, it’s best to drain the fuel tank and then run the engine until it stalls. If you choose to store gasoline, keep it in a very nearly full, tightly sealed metal container in a cool environment. Be sure to leave some room in the container to allow for some expansion. Under these conditions, the gasoline can be expected to remain of good quality for at least six months.
What is the difference between motor oils 5W30 10W30 20W50 and so on?
Let's start with understanding viscosity. Viscosity is the measure of the resistance of fluid. Water is thin having a low viscosity and honey is thick having a higher viscosity.
Your owner's manual may tell you to use SAE 5W-30 engine oil. What does this mean? SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers. They have created a standard for identifying the viscosity characteristics of engine oil. The 5W-30 part of the symbol is actually just a name. The W part of the name is an indicator of low temperature viscosity properties while the 30 part of the name is an indicator of the high temperature or operating viscosity properties. The numbers are just relative indicators to help the consumer. In other words, a 5W oil does not have a viscosity of 5, nor does a 30 weight oil have a viscosity of 30. What the numbers do mean is that the viscosity characteristics of a 5W oil are lower than that of a 10W oil. As well, a 30 weight oil has lower viscosity properties than a 40 weight oil.
In a 5W-30 oil, the "W" stands for winter performance. In winter weather the 0W oil will flow like a 0W oil, and the 5W will flow like a 5W oil and a 10W will flow like a 10W oil just until the engine warms up. This multi-grade performance allows faster oil flow during cold start, however when the oil warms up, they all reach the designated 30 weight viscosity.
The best thing to do is use the appropriate viscosity for your engine and climate as recommended by the manufacturer. In general, newer vehicles will specify lower viscosity oils such as 5W-30 while older vehicles will specify higher viscosity oils such as 20W-50. This is because today's engines are built with tighter bearing clearances to take advantage of the fuel economy benefits of lower viscosity oils. It is not really a good idea to use thicker oil in one of these engines because it will disrupt the oil flow characteristics of the engine and may create excessively high oil pressure.
What is E85 and who can use it?
E85 is a motor fuel blended with 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline for use in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). E85 is a high-octane, alternative fuel as defined by the U.S. Department of Energy. Besides its superior performance characteristics, ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; it is a completely renewable, domestic, environmentally friendly fuel that enhances the nation's economy and energy independence. Learn more about E85 on our Biofuels page or by going to E85fuel.com.
How many gallons of oil are in a barrel of crude oil?
Although many people confuse crude oil with the traditional 55 gallon drum, there are 42 gallons of crude oil in a barrel.
What is the difference between AW and EP in gear oils?
Anti Wear (AW) additives provides protection to reduce the friction and wear in between metal-to-metal contact. AW additives also provide boundary lubrication with the intent to reduce friction associated with wear between two surfaces.
EP (Extreme Pressure) additive, usually are used in some gear lube and greases to provide better protection. EP additives combine chemically with the metal and helps prevents welding and scoring between sliding surfaces in extreme pressure.
How do you calculate Gallons from Inches?
This question was submitted by a visitor to McPhersonOil.com using the Ask Mac form asking for a conversion chart to calculate the number of gallons in a 55 gallon drum when a “stick reading” is done and you have the number of inches of the product in the drum.
- Most 55 gallon drums are approximately 23 inches in outside diameter and 35 ¾ inches in height.
- The one conversion that does not change is that there are 231cubic inches in a gallon.
Therefore to calculate the gallons per inch in a drum all you need to know is the inside diameter in inches.
- Inside drum diameter is 22.6 inches, therefore the radius of the inside of the drum is 11.3 inches
- 1 gallon equals 231 cubic inches
- Pi equals 3.14 ( from geometry)
- 1 inch height in a drum equals = Pi x RADIUS x RADIUS
~ 3.14 x 11.3inches x 11.3inches x 1 inch( height) = 401CUBIC INCHES
- 401 cubic inches / 231 cubic inches = 1.73 GALLONS PER INCH
- Therefore the only measurement you need to know to calculate the gallons per inch in a drum is the inside diameter – 22.6 inches in this example.
- This measurement is true at 60 degree Fahrenheit. At different temperatures, technically you should temperature correct to account for any expansion or contraction of the material.
What is Octane and what does it mean?
The octane numbers we see at the gasoline pump are an expression of the “anti-knock” properties of the gasoline as it relates to the performance in gasoline engines. The higher the octane number the better the performance of the gasoline in your car’s engine. The gasoline’s anti-knock property is determined in a lab as compared to a baseline, known blend of isooctane which has an octane rating of 100.
To learn more about the science of octane, visit howstuffworks.com