Pumping Ethel


December 8, 2011 by esarsea

That’s an old adolescent joke, I know…

For those of you too young to remember, the higher-octane gasoline used to be called “Ethel” instead of “Super” or “Premium” as it is today. The name “Ethel” was derived from the additive tetraethel lead, which boosted octane, reduced engine ping, and helped lubricate valve guides. Its use was discontinued for environmental concerns back in the 70’s.

But that’s not what I wanted to vent about today. What irritates me to no end is how it takes damn near as long to put the last 50 cents worth of gas in my car as it does the first $19.50.


It seemed to start right about the time gas prices went way up the last time around, as if it was some sort of psychological tool. With higher prices it took a lot less time to put $20 or $30 or $50 in the tank, so I speculated that maybe it was a way to make it seem like it took the same amount of time to fill up.

When I find myself standing out in the wind and the rain and the cold with places to go and things to to, and it’s taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to put in that last little bit of gas I paid for, it just pisses me off. And don’t try to tell me it’s to reduce spillage, or to prevent sudden stops and/or impacts on the pump gear. I’m not buying it. If that was the case they could slow down the pump for the last 5 cents, not the last 50-plus cents. On some pumps it’s even worse.

Yeah, it’s a small, trivial issue. But I’ve got a $25-per-day gas bill for my commute, so I spend a fair amount of time at the pumps…and with each passing day it just continues to infuriate me.

Ok I feel better now.



5 thoughts on “Pumping Ethel

  1. torqdog says:

    From your post it sounds like you don’t filler-up, just put a set dollar amount in the tank. You could avoid all this by simply filling your tank using a credit card on the Island. I mean, you’re gonna use the fuel anyway.
    If I misunderstood your post, then nevermind. LOL

    • esarsea says:

      Yeah I hear ya. I don’t always have the $100 bill in my pocket that is needed for a fillup, and I’m not too keen on adding $500 per month to my cc bill. I know, I’m an oddball :-)

  2. RockinRon says:

    Pumping Ethyl was my first job in High School. Was OK Spring and Summer, but Wintertime as a Bear. Cold wing blowing in East Portland.
    BTW, looks like the webpage has some snow flakes streaming across the screen. Better get a programmer to fix it! lol

  3. billie789 says:

    TDog, I have a paranoid problem with that format, unless of course you’re using a company or government credit card.

    A buddy of mine had a nice motorhome a few years back and he would wait until he reached a town near his favorite camping spot to fill the water tank and gas tank. He would drive there nearly empty and then fill his tanks near the destination. He said, and I believe this to be true,” Why in the world would I want to burn all that gas hauling gasoline and water?” I generally only fill my Jeep halfway for two reasons: First, It costs me about $50 for half a tank. Second, I don’t want to burn all that gas hauling a full gas storage tank around!

    • torqdog says:

      Bill, when you say you have “a paranoid problem with that format”, are you referring to using a personal CC on the island or is it related to what you said after?

      We all have our own ways of doin things, don’t we. Being a former business owner, I subscribe to the idea of “time is money” and “time wasted is time lost”. So you fill your tank half way and make twice as many trips to the filling station to which any one of those “extra” trips is costing extra “time”. It’s also probably costing you the “slightly lighter vehicle” meager savings if you have to go more than a block or two to get to your station of choice. I’m one of those anal nuts who is ALWAYS checking their mileage and have intimate knowledge what differing conditions do to effect said mileage. I can say with no uncertainty that there is little to no measurable difference whether my Tundra’s 26 gallon tank is full or half full. Heck, with gasoline weighing in at a little over 6 pounds per gallon just adding a passenger eliminates the “half tank” weight savings (if any) right there. And as I said previously, you’re gonna use the fuel anyway. It’s not like we suddenly get the urge to go driving aimlessly because we have a little red needle pointing to “F”, do we?

      Bottom line is and it goes back to the original premise of this thread(time wasted), if you both are happy pulling into the filling station more often, go for it, it’s yo thing…… do whatcha wanna do. It’s not my time you’re killing. LOL

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