Why Americans Get Mileage All Wrong

Every American knows what “fuel mileage” is—especially these days. Whether it’s the EPA test results on the window sticker, or the actual mileage you figured out for your car, we’re all asking: How many miles can we go on a gallon of fuel?

In Europe and Asia, though, they flip it around, and say “fuel consumption.” That means: How much fuel does it take to go a set distance? There, it’s liters per 100 kilometers—we’d say gallons per 100 miles.

Frankly, this method makes far more sense when you’re talking about saving money on fuel, reducing CO2 emissions, or working to displace petroleum for national security reasons.

A new study, released yesterday by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, demonstrates the damage done by discussing mileage rather than consumption. Experiments by management professors Richard Larick and Jack Soll show that consumers believe fuel consumption is reduced at an even rate as mileage increases. For instance, most people ranked an improvement from 34 to 50 mpg as saving more gas over 10,000 miles than an improvement from 18 to 28 mpg.

In fact, that’s exactly backwards. Using rough numbers to make the math easier, here’s how it works: If a Chevy Tahoe improves from 10 mpg to 20 mpg, your fuel usage over 100 miles drops from 10 gallons to 5, saving you five gallons. Switching from a
Toyota Corolla
at 25 mpg to a Prius at 50 mpg, on the other hand, saves only two gallons for that same 100 miles, down from 4 gallons to 2.

Looking at the amount of gas (or diesel) needed to go a set distance makes it easier to calculate the effects of any consumption-reducing change. If window stickers showed how many gallons it would take a car to go 10,000 miles a year, buyers could readily calculate and compare the car’s annual fuel cost.

And in fact, that’s exactly what happens. “When you use that measure,” says Professor Soll, “people get all of our questions right.”

Among other effects, this means that for the greenest of car owners, trading in an already high-mileage Prius for a plug-in hybrid may save relatively little petroleum, depending on how the car is driven—although electricity is far cheaper per mile than is gasoline. Getting that Texan rancher to take the mileage on his big SUV or pickup from terrible to less-terrible, however, saves quite a lot.

And as Honda’s John German points out, the battery advances necessary to make plug-in hybrids practical will trickle down to regular hybrids—and they’re likely to improve the economics considerably. This leads to the conclusion that if we persuade 10,000 less-advanced buyers to buy hybrid versions of their current vehicles, we’d get better results—at a far lower cost in batteries—than from selling 10,000 (very pricey) plug-in hybrids to the greenest drivers.

Unfortunately, this argument isn’t (yet) working in the market. Dealer stocks of Toyota Priuses are measured in “hours, not days,” according to one dealer recently quoted, while GM has managed to sell fewer than 1,500 of its full-size Tahoe and Yukon Hybrid SUVs.

In reality, carmakers will likely try pursue all of these alternatives. But the U.S. definition of “mileage” sure doesn’t make the math any easier for consumers—and it may actually impede progress.


  • Armand

    Americans HATE to hear bad news…they hate to feel bad because they can’t take it.

    Everything in this country has to be sugarcoated because people here are biggest bunch of sissy-Mary’s in the world. Couple that with self-righteousness, and you have a classic case of an a$$hole who doesn’t want to be told he is one.

    Consumption is a BAD word for Americans…because it makes them feel guilty, self-aware, and conscious of ludicrous amounts of waste they produce and energy they use.

  • Ray Walker

    All that waste keeps hundreds of thousands of poorly educated folk working picking it up.
    If we all got back to basics, with 300 million people in America, the unemployment rate would be 40%.

  • Trainwreck

    Noz, you are a total tool… Take your tolling elsewhere

  • Trainwreck

    Here’s your flipping “R” :)

  • Bryce

    yea, I dont know if consumption has a bad connotation in people’s minds. I mean we all do it….happily, and it accounts for 2/3 of GDP. That sounds like we have whole heartedly accepted it. As for its consequences, we are certainly improviung our usage of our resources. I know my town takes manure dropped by cows locally and uses the methane released from its decomposition to run a power plant. We also filter all of our storm drain runnoff that leads to the ocean through a restored swampy type body of water thing. Those projects were just completed withing the last few years and are springing up all around the area.

    Again Noz, u are using a lot of curse words in sentences that could just as easily be articulated a lot less crudely and rudely.

  • Jon

    I’m going to try to remember to link to this every time another moron here COMPLAINS about manufactures announcing hybrid trucks, luxury sedans, sports cars, etc… instead of an 80mpg sub-compact.

  • samV1.0

    y not list both? or u could b like me and simply google it

  • changetheworldnow

    Too true

    I dont know if you are familiar with Click and Clack car talk show on public radio.
    They have a puzzler question weekly.

    One I recall : Suppose you have 2 cars that you drive 10000 miles a year in, one a Prius the other a woodie Grand Cherokee. They ask something like what is better
    to trade up from Pruis II (say 50 mpg) to a Pruis XXX( say 100 mpg) or to tune up your beater surf jalopy, scrub off the mud, inflate the tires tune the plugs and clean the air filter increasing the MPG from 15 to 20 mpg?

    Of course the answer is the same as the article stated.
    You save 100 gallons by upgrading to the super Prius but you save 170 gallons by tuning up the beater car.

    Left unsaid is to mothball the Cherokee for surf trips only and buy a scooter, using the Pruis for rainy days!!!! Instead of 500 gallons of gas you would use 100 gallons.

    Left unsaid is that for Many but not all of us, we really do not NEED the SUV Pickup. 99% of the time we are transporting only one person. I have a Prius and a Highlander and most of the time I do not use the cargo space of the Prius let alone the Highlander.

    Tom

  • Ted Mooney

    We could also use the same math and the same truths to make the point that lowering the speed limit and getting people from 65 mph down to 55 is not nearly as important as enforcing it and getting the people who are doing 75 down to 65 :-)

  • Armand

    Awwww…Trainwreck…hit a nerve did I? Hit’s home for ya?

    Sorry to have hurt your feelings…but tough.

  • billyk24

    This article also fails to mention the Euro test for fuel consumption/emmission is different than the US EPA method. The EPA method is more difficult to post higher “numbers” than the Euro test. It is part of the reason Euro fuel economy standards are higher than in this country. The media fails to reveal this fact in almost all of their “publications”. Lets not forget, the diesel engine vehicles posting higher fuel efficiency numbers in Europe can not pass the EPA mandated higher emmission standards.

  • dixon man

    Noz,you hit it on the head and HURTS….the truth that is

  • Lucien

    Agree, when I did some comparisons I found the combined cycle is almost always +20% for Europe compared to the EPA rating. However then again I think the EPA highway rating is a bit low and you typically can beat it easily. Maybe that’s why, Europeans know how to drive to get better mileage:-).

    I don’t see how many people can get confused about comparing MPG. You just take the % of the difference… Also reality is that in many European countries still km/l is used.

  • Old Bald Guy

    Here is my experience with improving fuel economy.

    I purchased a 2008 Prius in April. My other vehicle is a Kia SUV. My Prius is averaging 51+ MPG and my SUV is averaging 17 MPG (over 5 years of driving it). I have help logbooks on all of my cars for over 40 years so I do have valid data.

    I created a spreadsheet to track my expenses on the Prius and to compare fuel expenses to the SUV.

    Since April 28, 2008 to today, June 21,2008, I have spent about $250 on gas in the Prius … and the SUV would have used about $750 for the same miles driven … a savings of $500 in less than 2 months.

    And, yes, those figures are right … I am driving over 500 miles a week.

    So, no matter what the Prius bashers want to say, or anyone else in these forums with their petty bickering, the Prius works and works very well.

    Am I a consumer using too much resources? Probably. Am I doing something constructive about it. Yes. But consider this … as I try to cut down on my consumption, I look at things besides just gasoline. I use compact flourescent lights, I don’t water the street with my lawn sprinkler, … I am trying to improve the quality of my life by doing the right thing … AND saving money at the same time.

    The point is with cars, it is not as important what your MPG has been … the more important thing is … WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO IMPROVE IT?

    If you go from 10 MPG to 20 MPG … that’s great because you just cut your bill in half. If you go from 20 MPG to 40 MPG … that’s great too for the same reason. If everyone in Texas (I live in Texas), who commutes to work SOLO in a big truck or SUV, cut their gas use in half, just think what THAT would do to supply and demand and the price of gas.

    What are you doing to help?

  • Justin

    This article presents a stupid argument. Who cares if people think that 34 to 50 is better than 18 to 28? When does that ever matter? Honestly the only case I can think of is if people are having a “my car efficiency improvement is better than your car efficiency improvement” fight, which I know happens all of the time [/sarcasm]. People do know that 50>34>28>18 which is what really matters. Everyone regardless of method of calculating efficiency realizes that higher mpg or lower gpm is better. MPG works fine either when comparing new cars or trying to improve the mileage your current car; higher is better, it’s as easy as that.

  • Gap Spanner

    Hypothetical for you: Two drugs are being used to treat cancer, one has a cure rate of 50%, the other 10%. Both companies come out with a new, improved version of their drugs. The 50% cure rate has been pushed to 60% while the 10% drug has increased to 30%.

    You have cancer – which drug do you want? If we followed the advice in this article, we’d all be opting for that 30% drug – after all, it’s improved 300% from it’s predecessor while the other has increased a mere 20%.

    Arguing that 10mpg to 20mpg is ‘better’ than 34 mpg – 50 mpg is ridiculous. It may represent a greater percentage of improvement, but the end result is the same, you’re still burning a lot more gas than you need to.

    The simple solution is to buy only as much vehicle as you need, and get the most efficient one in it’s class. If you have to have a truck, get the one that offers 20 mpg over the 10 mpg model. But if you don’t need that truck, the 50 mpg Prius is certainly going to save you a lot in fuel and save the planet a lot of carbon in it’s atmosphere.

  • Bryce

    efficiency comes at a cost my friend, and not all are willing to pay a premium for a diesel engine and the subsequently higher gas bill or the added cost of a hybrid drivetrain. People will make economic decisions to maximize their utility. A hybrid may not be for everyone. Some people do indeed not make even $30k.

  • steved28

    Thank You Gap Spanner, you summed it up better than I ever could have.

    Stats can prove anyone’s point if presented the right way.

    When I was in Law enforcement an argument was presented in front of a room full of prison inmates. They were asked how many were heroin addicts. Most raised their hands. Then those who raised their hands were asked if they used Marijuana before they used heroin, about 90% raised their hands. The presenter concluded that marijuana use led to heroin.

    The person opposing this point of view then asked all the heroin users “How many of you drank milk as a child”, all raised their hands. He concluded that drinking milk leads to heroin use.

  • Lans

    I agree with Justin. Here is my take on it.

    By comparing saving more gas from improving 34mpg (Toyota Corolla) to 50mpg (Toyota Prius) and 18mpg (Chevy Tahoe) to 28mpg (Chevy Tahoe Hybrid) over 10,000 implies that people driving 18mpg vehicles will not likely upgrade to 50mpg instead of the 28mpg and I don’t disagree with that.

    So assuming people’s habit generally don’t change (Chevy Tahoe upgrade to Chevy Tahoe Hybrid instead of Toyota Prius), then MPG is perfectly fine.

    There were early indications that early hybrid drivers did increased their driving but I still doubt that will hold for the general population.

    I also think this is a waste of time because the problem is not MPG or GPM (L/km). The problem is consumption and alternative energy sources.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    ****WARNING THE FOLLOWING MAY BE CONSIDERED HERECY TO SOME CLOSE MINDED, WELL MEANING, PEOPLE*****

    Personally, I don’t care what kind of gas mileage you get or anything about conserving gasoline. We’re going to run out of gas .PERIOD. They only good things you’ll accomplish by reducing oil consumption are:
    - you may be lucky enough to die before we run out.
    - you may be able to slow down global warming.
    - you may save some of your own money today.
    Now, if you have kids or grandkids that you care about or if you care about the prosperity of the human race, you’ll see that we need a totally different approach.
    The way to accomplish the above accomplishments and help your descendents is to use today’s gasoline to raise human culture to a new level where it uses sustainable energy.
    Today, the only sustainable transportation method that I see is the electric vehicle. It can run off of the sunshine, wind, geothermal, biofuel,etc that will be around essentially forever.

  • steved28

    EV1 says “Personally, I don’t care what kind of gas mileage you get or anything about conserving gasoline. We’re going to run out of gas .PERIOD”

    With all due respect, I think you may be the closed minded one. Removing fossil fuels from society will take many years and trillions of dollars. It will happen, but we must learn to walk before we can run. To “not care” about mileage at this time and rant on, is akin to a small child having a temper tantrum because he can’t get exactly what he wants, now.

    I will go one further and say you may be part of the problem in America. We have the far right and far left, neither side willing to hear the other or make compromises.

    In this century you are going to have to take victories where you can get them. All advances, no matter how small, toward the correct end, are still advances.

  • Jason Greene

    IF I PLAN TO DRIVE 50 MILES, AND I KNOW MY CAR GETS 25 MILES PER GALLON, I CAN ANTICIPATE THAT I WILL USE TWO GALLONS OF FUEL…who gives a shit how many gallons you use to drive 100miles unless you are going to drive 100miles?

  • Jason Greene

    Also if im running short on fuel and money, if i put two gallons in my car, i will drive ashured that i will be able to drive 50 more miles. By using MPG you can estimate fuel usage better. Americans dont get mileage all wrong.

  • DGOdrummer

    Thank you all. I have learned some things. I especially like hearing Old Bald Guy asking us “what are we doing to help?”, steved28′s comment on stat’s – great story to prove a point! I also can understand where Noz and ex-EV1 driver are coming from as well… my guess is frustration from the apathy we all see from some people in this country. I get angry and pissed off too, but realize it’s not always the best way to serve ourselves and promote change.
    I now find myself (lib/dem) on some common ground with my conserv./repub. brother and realize many of us, on both sides, desire the same thing; moving towards sustainability, environmental protection, being aware of our choice’s impacts, passing a better world and governing system on to our children; though I see it as moving through mud mostly – slow… very slow. Sad to know the dollar reigns with most.
    I see more scooters than ever before and can’t wait until people HAVE to start riding them just to afford their beer and ESPN15. When will NASCAR move to electric cars? Bet they’ll be the last ones.
    I try to remind myself pride usually holds me back from learning.

  • WompaStompa

    This is why all SUV/Truck drivers should just get hybrids. They’d be going from 12-15MPG to 45-50MPG, and they’d notice a huge savings. You’ve proved my point. Next?

  • Elmer Fudd

    Awe button it up!

  • Need2Change

    I don’t think it matters whether it’s miles per gallon, or liters per 100 kilometers.

    I know a car that gets 40 mpg is twice as efficent as a car that gets 20 mpg.

    K know that a car that uses 2 liiters per 100 kilometers is twice as efficient as a car that uses 4 liters per 100 kilometers.

    What bothers me is that the U.S. won’t adopt the metric system.

  • Oblio_A

    Figuring gas at $4 per gallon, and driving 12K per year…

    Doubling your mpg from 10 mpg to 20 mpg (10 mpg gain) will reduce gasoline cost by $200 per month.

    Doubling your mpg from 20 mpg to 40 mpg (20 mpg gain) will reduce gasoline cost by only $100 per month.

    Lesson:
    I’d defintely trade-out an Expedition for a pre-owned Accord, but I’d rethink spending 25K on a new Prius.

  • MJ

    First of all I’m pretty sure that American car stickers now show just what this article wants them to. It shows them the number of gallons and I think expected price for gas if the car is driven 10,000 miles. It’s just not in big as the mile per gallon.

    The thing that drives me nuts and most of my friends do this, is measuring how fuel efficient your car is by:

    #1. How much it cost to fill up your tank
    #2. How long you can go in between fill ups

    You know how many times I have heard someone say “It cost me $80 to fill up my new truck but I only have to fill it up every 2 weeks”.

  • jwo7777777

    So, somehow the reciprocal of a number is better than the original number?

    I don’t get it.

    Then again, I never understood how a millimeter was superior to a thousandth of an inch.

    What I DO understand is that it would be better if EVERYONE used the same measurement systems. Then we wouldn’t have conversion issues. But, the fact that we do or do not standardize has NOTHING to do with the actual system which we agree is standard.

    Telling people how they have to think about a subject is flat wrong. That is the road to killing innovation and keeping people thinking “inside the box.” Let people used to thinking in fuel consumption continue and let people used to using mpg continue. Both have their place.

  • Richard T.

    Gap Spanner and Old Bald Guy said everything that needs to be said. I agree with them.

  • Scott M.

    I think some folks may be missing the point. From a public policy perspective, encouraging users of a 12MPG vehicle to move to a 24MPG similar vehicle will result in less overall fuel demand for the country than encouraging folks to move from a 50MPG vehicle to a 100MPG vehicle.

    Of course it would be great if we could get everyone using the 100MPG vehicle. But that’s not reasonable. Indeed, we should still work on having people move up the scale (or down the old scale) as fast as possible, but what’s most important are getting the major gas guzzlers off the road.

    In order to affect public policy in a working democracy you should have the buy-in of the general public. So if you’re going to offer incentives to get pickup truck drivers to scrap their pickups and get new hybrid pickups, people need to see why that’s a good idea.

    The MPG form of measurement tends to obscure reduction in fuel use. Don’t forget, most of us here would be considered some of the “smarter” people in society. Just because something is obvious to us doesn’t mean that it’s clear to everyone.

    Professor Soll proved that above.

  • Harry

    Doubling the mileage be great but when gas goes up a dollar every year , I doubt I see mileage doubling every year or so

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Steve28,
    I welcome your statement that I “may be part of the problem in America” despite how much I disagree or how much it hurts me and you can be assured that I won’t sleep well until I’m sure there’s a good chance you’re wrong. I’ve followed the increasing fuel economy route for a long time but finally came to the realization that it won’t get us anywhere unless we come up with an alternative. Here’s how it hit me:
    I was on my way in our HCH to an alternative energy show where an organization I supported had a booth. I was running a bit late because of traffic. Suddenly, the traffic opened up and I sped up. As I sped up, my mpg suddenly started dropping. I was tempted to slow down a bit to save gas, however, I realized that then I’d be late to the event. I then had to make the tradeoff between saving gas and getting the word about electric vehicles and how they can save us out to the unknowing masses. I suddenly hit me that getting the word out to people so they would support EV’s is really much more important that saving a gallon or two of gas. Many thoughts went through my head, including “look how much gas I’m wasting by even going to this event”. Maybe I should save the gas and quit going to the events. I then tried to think of a cost/benefit formula to determine how much good my event had to be to justify the bad of wasting gas. It was when I realized that if I didn’t go to the events that people may never hear my 1st hand accounts on how electric vehicle actually can work. I also realized that our gas would run out eventually, either in my life or the life of my nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews, etc. It was then that this heretical thought hit me that I’d be better off wasting gas now if I spent the saved time working on promoting alternatives (including writing this forum entry). I also realized that if I waste gas to be able to spend more time at work and make more money, I might be better able to afford an early Tesla, Phoenix, Apter, or other early electric car so I could then show people how great EVs are (since my last was taken from me and crushed).
    I hope this helps you to understand my reasoning. I’ll follow up with some additional explanations about my theories as well.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    more about Steved28′s concerns:

    The problem I’m pointing out is that compromises may not solve this problem. I’m not sure what terms you’re used to working with but from a systems engineering problem, working to reduce our fuel consumption is only optimizing a local maxima. Unfortunately, that local maxima won’t meet the need so we must find a different solution, whose optimized maxima will exceed our need threshold. ie. If you’re trying to make your car fly so you keep putting on a bigger motors because it comes closer to flying with each bigger motor, it still may not fly. You will probably need to add a wing and a propeller. No compromises between bigger motor and smaller motors will solve your problem for you – you’re not solving the problem at hand.
    I would claim that your suggestion that “In this century you are going to have to take victories where you can get them.” may be a problem. We’re winning a lot of battles and feeling pretty good (smug) about ourselves because of how many we’re winning – just look at at all the greenwashing in today’s automobile adds. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t a battle that’s important; it’s a war we need to win. We saw this as a huge problem literally in the Vietnam War and now we may be seeing it in our struggle for energy as well. Although all the generals could point out their many victories in that war, in fact, we clearly could win any battle we went into, however, I don’t consider that we won the Vietnam War. I think it is very important for succeeding generations that we win the energy one or their lives will not be as pleasant as the one we enjoy now.
    I think you point out a fact that we both agree on that “All advances, no matter how small, toward the correct end, are still advances.”. I’m just pointing out that maybe fuel consumption improvement may not be an advance ‘toward the correct end’.
    The only reason I waste any effort on this website or on hybrid cars in general is because they do use batteries and electric motors, even if they are only there to make Internal Combustion Engines “not as bad”. They still can’t go an inch without oil so they’re 100% dependent on it.
    I want to propose a path ‘toward the correct end” to solve our energy problems:
    1) establish an alternative means of charging the batteries on a hybrid (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle – PHEV)
    2) increase the amount of miles driven using the electric motor. (better PHEV)

    I don’t consider that the amount of gasoline used is very important since it will eventually go away entirely if you follow my course of action. The important thing to do is to push for “hybrids that can be plugged in”, not “hybrids that get better gas mileage”.
    You’re also quite right that it will take “trillions of dollars” and many years to remove fossil fuels from society. But we must start working to REMOVE fossil fuels, not just REDUCE them a little at a time while society slips slowly into bankruptcy. We’re more likely to win if we TAKE ADVANTAGE of today’s cheap fuels since everything in our society will only get more expensive as oil supplies dwindle.

  • WompaStompa

    A lot of people forget that driving hybrids or other fuel efficient cars is not all about saving money. My wife and I would not have bought both a brand new HCH and Prius in the last 2 years if we were into saving boat loads of money. We are conscious of the environment and want to drive the cleanest driving cars we can.

    People don’t use reusable grocery bags or buy energy efficient light bulbs to save money, why should driving a fuel efficient vehicle or hybrid be any different? In fact being green can be a VERY expensive endeavor. My wife and I spend a ton more at the grocery store, for example, buying Earth-friendly products and organic produce.

    I think too many people just think of hybrids or small cars as fuel savers and money savers without seeing the bigger picture.

    I completely agree that hybrids have been and are still too expensive for a lot of people genuinely concerned about the environment to afford them. I do take issue, however, with those people that say that hybrids are too expensive meanwhile they are driving an equally expensive vehicle that gets 10-20MPG LESS than my Civic or my wife’s Prius. If they were buying a 15K car I’d understand saying hybrids are too expensive. But a co-worker of mine just bought a new $28,000 car, and has stated in the past that hybrids are too expensive. The way I see it I spent about 5K less than her and I’m getting nearly double the MPGs and saving money on gas.

    I do feel for those, I work with some, that would love to drive a hybrid but just simply can’t afford it. I wish the car companies/government could do something about that. The tax credit was a step in the right direction but that is all but gone except for the gas guzzling Chevy “hybrids.”

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, we still have all the bombs so keep talking little man.

  • Sam-Sham-the-Flimflam-man

    What the heck?

  • Armand

    ANONYMOUS obviously hasn’t heard about the Romans….

    Only someone with really tiny peni-s would say something like what ANON said…as with most of these war-mongering, gas guzzling idiots.

  • steved28

    Thanks for the well thought out response EV1. I know we share common goals, I may be more pessimistic. When hybrids can only fetch 3% of the market share, It appears we have a long way to go.

    With regard to running out of liquid fuel, I don’t see it happening quite as fast as you may. I’m reminded of a story my uncle told me on my wedding day.

    He said “In your first year of marriage, throw 2 pennies in a jar every time you make love to your wife, After the first year, take a penny out of the jar every time you make love, the jar will never empty”

    If we can substantially reduce our consumption, liquid fuels will have a place in the world for many years. It will be less attractive due to the better alternatives and the high price.

    BTW, unfortunately, my uncle was right.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    steve28,
    I’m at least as pessimistic as you about some things, however, having had the opportunity to drive a real EV for 3 years, I can assure you the technical solution is quite easy. Its the political issue that is tough.
    You’re being misleading or you’ve been mislead when you say that “hybrids CAN ONLY fetch 3% of the market share”. This is because the auto manufacturers would prefer that they fetched 0% of the market share since they threaten their core business. 100% of all hybrids manufactured have been sold, many of them essentially as soon as they hit the lots. The same applied to the EVs of the late ’90′s even though the official story is that “GM was only able to sell 1000 of their EV1′s” (reality: they never offered any EV1′s for sale and leased every single one with at least 5 people still left on a waiting list for each of them – despite paltry marketing and negative salesmanship at the few dealers that had them).

    ‘Unfortunately’, Toyota and Honda made the ‘mistake’ of actually putting hybrids on their lots for sale and now the genie is out of the bottle. Through careful and limited release of the EV1 and the other California EV’s of the late ’90′s, the auto manufacturers were able to shove that genie back into the bottle, however, those of us who had the cars are putting up quite a struggle to keep them from tightly sealing the cork back on.

  • DHoward575

    It really all depends on your perception AND what information you are really looking for.

    But in your illustration (the truck that improves it’s gas usage for 100 miles from 10mpg to 5mpg versus changing from a car that uses 25mpg to another that uses 50mpg over 100miles) is still the same information. In reality both scenarios are improving their fuel usage by half the original usage. So if you are trying to accomplish reducing your fuel usage by 50% then you do that with either model.

    However, if your goal is to get into a vehicle that can get you further for the least cost then the second model (cars) is your best bet. Let’s put it together. Let’s say fuel costs $4 per gallon. If you have a truck that uses 10mpg and you travel 100 miles then you have used $40 of fuel. If that truck has improved to 20mpg then the same trip has cost you $20. Now look at the cars: the first car has a consumption rate of 25mpg which means that your cost for the 100 mile trip is now $16 (better than either truck) and if you move into the more efficient car getting 50mpg then you have now only spent $8 for the same trip.

    So depending on what information you are looking for decides which is the better decision. Either way you slice it, both models offer a 50% reduction of either gallons of gas used or cost to the consumer. But the cars when out in the long run because of reduced costs to the consumer.

  • Considering a Hybrid

    My only real problem with all electric cars, or even plug-in hybrids, is the sad state of the nation’s electrical distribution grid, and the lack of sufficient generating capacity to allow for even as little as 10% of the driving public to recharge one every day. Right now, the result of everyone plugging in when they get home would be like an entire city flushing every toilet everywhere at the same time. The water pressure would die, and the sewers would back up. We need to improve the power grid. We MUST include nuclear in the equation. I noticed that Ex-EV1 conveniently omitted Nuclear in his list of sources. Wind, solar, et cetera, have a place in the mix. With full reprocessing of spent fuel, the end result is a very tiny amount of Cesium 137. Short half life. Yucca Flats would not be necessary. You can thank Jimmy Carter for the enormous piles of spent fuel. Once we have plenty of electrical capacity, then sell everyone an electric car. Until then, we have about as many as we can handle.

  • JZ

    NOZ, where are you from France? Do you carry around a white flag in your pocket?

  • Kev

    Personally I’m considering using Miles per $$. My Toyota truck currently gets 5.7 miles per dollar.. MPG or GPM its all the same.

  • Gas

    Noz, As a Soldier I hear bad words everyday and bad things on the regular. Consumption is hardly a bad word. Your right Americans don’t like to hear bad news but as an American and a Soldier I would rather hear the truth right out than tip toe around the problem. PS: I know I’m an a$$hole, what’s your excuse?

  • Yogi

    an insight and result of a resarch shouldn’t be a problem and a step back – it should be a challange to improve ;-)

  • Fraw

    According to a aftermarket parts blog. When it comes to issues like these sugarcoating is a common term used for them.

  • Bryce

    who are u fraw…….an automated advertisement…..

  • Drive a Stick shift

    In other countries, counting in kilometers per liters would just make no sense. If you get 20Mpg that would convert in 0.12Km/L. In fact unless you get 1Mpg or 2Mpg, you get a decimal Km/l. On the other hand 12L/100KM (same thing just prettier to the eye) is easier to read & would be read 5g/100M in the States. Either way if you count in Mpg you want a bigger number, if you count it in GpM you want a smaller number in order to know you save on gas.
    As long as you do a little research before changing your vehicle for one with more Mpg; checking if doing a little repair & maintenance on your current car will save you money or not is a little time that can save you a lot of $.
    Who cares how it’s calculated when you know what you’re looking for?

  • Melanie

    Soooo …. I understand the issue for as many of us to upgrade to more fuel efficient vehicles. I actually support it.

    BUT – I would like to ask all of you …. what do you expect a family of 4 with 1 income set well below poverty level and no public assistance to do? Are you willing to help them financially buy this new hybrid vehicle? Are you going to foot the bill for their new fuel efficiency?

    I live very well and my family has a decent income. We do what we can to improve our effect on the environment and our fuel consumption. We do plan on upgrading to a better vehicle one day – HOWEVER we can not afford the cost associated right now with that upgrade. Does that make us evil self righteous earth killing fiends???? No it makes us limited by our own resources. Many of us do what we can – don’t fault us all because we are still driving traditional fuel cars.

  • Bryce

    That is definetly true, and trust me, there is nothing wrong with thinking about the economics of apurchase. Soon enough, as these things become widespread enough, their will be a pretty large used car market for these things as the years go by. Expect lots of 2nd generation priuss(i) to hit the used car market once the 3rd generation hits us in a few years.

  • Justin

    Hey, don’t be predjudiced against an entire country because of it’s majority. I’m American and am not nearly as stupid as most. Therefore, you are insulting to me. You should understand that concept.

  • Uncle B

    Think of your sons and daughters and grandchildren every time you use foreign oil! If not for unstated but very true facts of American life and the foreign oil supply, Iraq would never have happened! It is a Saudi obligation completed! As oil grows scarcer in the world, the Saudi and OPEC demands get higher! Who do we invade next to appease them, Iran, or do we give up Israel to make them happy enough to ship oil to our shores? We must quit this “mercenary for oil” position and get real about Wind: see reference below:
    There is as much wind power potential (900,000 megawatts) off our coasts as the current capacity of all power plants in the United States combined, according to a new report entitled, A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and General Electric. http://www.capecodtoday.com/news246.htm01/01/09
    and remember:
    If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times – solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, ($650 Billion), today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equivalent to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and storeable hydrogen gasoline replacement from the electricity, for all!
    After the millions of murders, and $650 billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!
    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich Arabic saber dancing daddie’s boy oilman, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep! (also see http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan)

  • DCM5150

    I guess this just shows how stupid everyone is. MPG or GPM is the same thing, just flip the number over. If you get 50 miles/1 gallon, you also get that 1 gallon will take you 50 miles. (or 1 gallon/50 miles).

  • bobjuck

    Of course it would be great if we could get everyone using the 100MPG vehicle. But that’s not reasonable. Indeed, we should still work on having people move up the scale (or down the old scale) as fast as possible, but what’s most important are getting the major gas guzzlers off the road.

  • adwan N.

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    thank you

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