Saturday, December 29, 2007


Being the dork that I am, I like to keep a variety of statistics in both my work and personal life so I can then go around blurting out random numbers and factoids to anyone who will listen. (i kid!)

I bought my first MINI Cooper in 2003 straight off the lot. I fell in love with the car, the MINI "lifestyle", and coming from a 4-door Chevy sedan, I especially enjoyed the increase in gas mileage! But when folks would ask "What kind of mileage do you get in that thing?" while I had an answer, (being the dork that I am) I prefer proof (a.k.a. "statistics"!)

I have been diligently tracking my MPG since I picked up my second MINI- a 2006 MINI Cooper S in July of 2006. The process is quite simple actually:

  1. I use the MINI's built-in Odometer/Trip Meter to track the distance traveled between each fill up...
  2. At each fill up, I use the camera on my cellphone to take a photo of the resulting pump reading...
  3. I then take another photo of my Odometer/Trip Meter before I reset it...
  4. I upload these photos to my cellphone account, where each one is time/date stamped from when I took the photo. This is perfect for when I'm feeling less geeky since I can let them pile up for weeks until a day like today...
  5. I review each photo and enter the data into a spreadsheet.

With a carefully prepped spreadsheet, now all I have to do is enter the data and the rest is done for me! It's a pretty basic set of formulas- namely averaging, and dividing. (If you really want a copy of my spreadsheet let me know. I'd be happy to send it.)

Here is a brief summary of travel data for my MINI Cooper S for 2007:
  • The average fill-up in 2007 was $32 for 10.32 = 3.16/gal. (In the last 3-4 months the typical yield for $40 for is 12 gallons = ~$3.34/gal)
  • The median mileage between fill-ups was 242.4 "per tank" (Only about 30% of my mileage comes from traveling farther than 20 miles of highway every few weekends. Gotta visit the fam' y'know!)
  • + Overall, my MPG results in an average of 23.82 and a median of 22.68 a gallon.*
  • + The highest MPG recorded in 2007: 41.9mpg baby! (Yes, that was a result of about 90% highway driving going to Las Vegas for AMVIV)

For better record keeping in 2008, I'm considering acquiring a gas card (credit card) so I can better track "Days between fill-ups" as well as maintain more consistency of where and how much I pay for each fill up (I also try to purchase the same dollar amount of fuel each time so I can use this as the "constant" in my formulas, which isn't always an option when you're relying on cash).

*(NOTE: I prefer "Median" over "Average" whenever possible. It provides a more accurate look at the data! But then again, I'm a dork.)

So there's a peek into how I get my "numbers" for the on-going "MINI Mileage Update" thread on this blog. I know someone will blow my method of analysis to shreds, but that's how we learn, right?

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