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Business, Energy, Environment, STEM

Falling Gas Prices and No Gas Cap

Capless Gas CapU.S. gas prices continue their downward trend with the national average for regular gasoline coming in at $2.90 per gallon. Stats from GasBuddy.com show that the average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline is about five (5) cents lower than a week ago:

U.S prices for 87 octane gasoline, $/gallon

Today 2.903
Yesterday 2.917
One Week ago 2.946
One Month ago 3.188
One Year ago 3.195

Source: GasBuddy.com, 11.15.2014

Here’s my good news. I paid $2.80/gallon for 91 octane, and noticed that regular gasoline, 87 octane, was priced at $2.60 – all at Costco. Savings at the pump for U.S. consumers over the last six months could definitely set the stage for one of the best holiday shopping seasons since the Great Recession began.

Adding to this good news, I’m driving a loaner vehicle, a Ford Fiesta ST, while my pony is in the shop for some major maintenance and repairs. This little compact has lots of bells and whistles and zip for a car in this class, and the expected U.S. EPA gas mileage for city and highway are 26 and 35 mpg, respectively, put a big smile on my face.

Another surprise for me was discovering that this car does not have a gas cap! And while Ford has led this change with capless gas tanks on their vehicles beginning with the 2009 Explorer, the addition of this feature has been moved to other models. The idea is even beginning to catch on with other vehicle manufacturers.

Where was that capless gas tank when I failed the gas cap part of the vehicle emissions test back in March? The idea of not having a gas cap with rubber seals that degrades over time in Arizona’s heat immediately came to mind.

Capless fueling has its pros and cons. One definite pro is that it prevents someone from siphoning gas out of your tank regardless to whether you paid $4 or $2.90 per gallon for it. According to Car Pros USA, the same anti-siphon feature means you have to carry the (automaker-provided) special funnel for times you run dry and need to refuel from a gas can instead of a pump. Afterward, the funnel smells like gas and you can smell it even in the trunk.

Other benefits of the capless refueling are: no lost fuel caps, no dirty hands, no risk of unwanted fuels, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and a fuel tank that is sealed from dust and water. [Ref 1] Here’s my good news! I still have 3/4 of a tank of gas left. I don’t think I will be fueling the vehicle until I pick up my car, and that is really good news.


1. Gear, Ford addresses concerns over Fiesta’s capless fuel, October 10, 2010, http://www.topgear.com.ph/news/, last viewed on 11.15.2014

About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.


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