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  1. Default Northern VA to Los Angeles Roadtrip Is Over!

    My roadtrip started on 17-Sep and ended 4-Oct.

    Total Miles: 6350 miles
    Total Gas $$: $475.00
    Hotels $$: $825.00
    Food and other expenses: $300.00

    Took 70 West and stopped at Arches NP.
    Hit 15 south and stayed in Vegas for 4 days.
    Drove through Death Valley on the way to Las Angeles
    Stayed in LA for 5 Days
    Took 40 East going home
    Stopped at the Grand Canyon
    Stopped at Cadillac Graveyard in Amarillo TX.

    Notes: Slept in the Car 3 times: Rest stop in Utah, Grand Canyon NP and Walmart parking lot in Wytheville, VA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Good gas return.

    Thanks for dropping in with an update.

    What vehicle did you use for the trip ? Close to 40mpg [I'm guessing] and room to sleep in isn't bad at all. Looks as though you might have clocked up some serious miles on certain day's, what with 9 day's in Vegas and LA. What were your highlights of the trip?

  3. Default

    I was getting about 38 mpg in my 2003 Honda Accrod 5-Speed
    I never used cruise control except to stretch my right foot.
    I used the AC about 5% of the time.

    Be aware of 85 or 86 octane gas. In Utah, AZ and NM, the Gas stations have 85-88-90 octane gas. Other gas stations start at 86.

    Day 1: Northern VA to St. Loius
    Day 2: KS Colorado border
    Day 3: Some scenic roads. Stopped at Arches NP.
    Day 4: Arrived Vegas in the afternoon.
    Day 6: While in Vegas took a trip to see Hoover Dam.
    Day 8: Left Vegas heading to Death Valley - Stopped at Bakersfield, CA
    Day 9: Los Angeles
    Day 9 through 13: Visited all the Beaches, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and downtown LA.
    Day 14: Headed to Grand Canyon
    Day 15: Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Stopped at Grants NM.
    Day 16: Saw the Cadillac Graveyard and made it about 60 miles west of Little Rock
    Day 17: Made it to Wytheville, VA
    Day 18: Home

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default octane baby

    You are right that any place you are at elevation you'll see gas with lower octane numbers - with 85 being common for regular, as opposed to the 87 that you'll normally see. That's true throughout all of the mountain states from Montana and the Dakotas all the way to AZ and NM. However its really not something you have to worry about.

    The reason is fairly simple - the octane rating basically is a measure of how much pressure it takes for the gasoline to explode - and you want a number that's high enough that it doesn't explode before your engine compresses it. At elevation, there is less air pressure so a lower octane will have the same effect as a higher octane at sea level.

    In other words, if your car recommends regular unleaded and 85 is what they are selling for regular, you shouldn't have any problems. If you are on your way out of the mountains, you might think about going up to mid-grade, but most of the time you'll need to fill up again before you reach a point where the lower octane would be a problem.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I have never had a problem with 85 octane, even returning to lower altitudes with it. I have yet to see any performance or economy issues with it. However, I do notice differences dependent on ethanol percentages at any altitude with any octane.

  6. Default

    The first time I saw 85 octane gas was driving west on 70 through the Rocky Mts. I did not notice the octane ratings and simply put the lowest grade gas in the car. The car did not have much pick-up at all. However, my gas mileage was the same.

    Here are two picture of the beginning of I40 heading East.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    It didn't have much pickup because of the altitude. Had nothing to do with the octane.

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