Commentary
6/20/2008
03:39 PM
Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
Commentary

Miles Per Gallon vs. Gallons Per Mile

A "math illusion" makes it hard to use miles per gallon to figure out how much fuel you can save. With gas prices topping $4 per gallon, this is not just an academic exercise. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution.



A "math illusion" makes it hard to use miles per gallon to figure out how much fuel you can save. With gas prices topping $4 per gallon, this is not just an academic exercise. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution."The reality that few people appreciate is that improving fuel efficiency from 10 to 20 miles per gallon is actually a more significant savings than improving from 25 to 50 miles per gallon for the same distance of driving," says Richard Larrick, a management professor at Duke University in a Rueters story by Julie Steenhuysen.

Larricks research, which appears in the journal Science, shows that when presented fuel efficiency defined in miles per gallon, college students could not easily identify the one that would result in the greatest gains in fuel efficiency. But they did much better when fuel efficiency was expressed in gallons per 100 miles.

If your business is replacing vehicles, this math illusion could be costing you big bucks by making it difficult to know which vehicles you should replace first.

To help, Larric has created a downloadable conversion table that makes it easy to see which choice actually delivers the most fuel savings.

I know this isn't every day bMighty fare, but I thought it was so interesting I had to pass it along...

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