Car Gas Mileage May Not Be All It Seems : NPR

I’m not really sure how to react to this story from NPR:

Car Gas Mileage May Not Be All It Seems : NPR

Here’s a quiz. Which saves more gas: trading in a 16-mile-a-gallon gas guzzler for a slightly more efficient car that gets 20 mpg? Or going from a gas-sipping sedan of 34-mpg to a hybrid that gets 50 mpg?

If you guessed the second choice, you’re wrong.

Even a small improvement in gas guzzlers saves more gas than a big improvement in cars that already save. But cars aren’t advertised that way in the U.S.

I’m not sure I buy the setup of the argument (not having kids, I don’t live in a world where you wouldn’t just replace the worst efficient car) but that seems like a different argument. My problem is that it (and essentially the same story I found) doesn’t even bother to give a method to convert for yourself. The options are that they think everyone can figure it out for themselves (I doubt it), or they thought it was too hard to explain.

Anyhow, I expect anyone who bothers to read my posts regularly probably is in a decent enough position to figure this out themselves, but I’ll put it here for anyone who might come upon this. If M is the car’s milage, then you can figure out the number of gallons it takes to drive 100 miles by:


Like I said, pretty simple, which is why I can’t understand not even mentioning the formula, or at least using the phrase “inverse relation”. Oh, well.

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