Fuel Economy

The cost of petrol (gas) is reported on a daily basis on the TV news here in the US. The national average was over $3 a gallon and then dropped back. California has the highest price in the country, due to extra taxation. Compared to the price back in the UK, $3 is still cheap, but for a country that was paying under $2 a couple of years ago, this price hurts.

The pain is made worse, because fuel economy has not previously been a priority for Americans buying cars. The trucks and SUVs that have been popular for many years guzzle gas at a ridiculous rate. Now, as people start to care about fuel consumption, advertisers are starting to focus on the economy figures. Manufacturers who make those guzzling behemoths are forced to get into the act by claiming best in class figures, ie this vehicle is not as bad as other similar ones. In the US, advertisers are allowed to headline the highway mileage. This is the mileage that one could get in optimum circumstances at 55mph on a freeway, not in actual use. This makes the proud boast that the Chevy Tahoe can get 20mpg, hollow at best; real world figures suggest that actual economy is about 15mpg. This suggests that US manufactures will struggle to reach the government mandated figures of 35mpg by 2020.

There is one mitigating fact to take into account when looking at US fuel economy, a gallon here is less than in the UK. One UK gallon = 1.201 US gallons. The US gallon is smaller, as in pre-revolutionary days the UK short-changed the colonists by sending under-measured gallons.

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Published in: on 15 July, 2007 at 11:17  Leave a Comment  

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