A gallon of gas or a gallon of petrol?

I was listening to the radio a few days ago and heard an American complaining that, for all the advances in technology, the cars coming out of the factories still do 28 miles per gallon and that doesn’t seem to be changing very fast. The British presenter pointed out, with an air of smug superiority, that this was an American problem and that cars over here do 40 mpg.

Now, it is true that European cars are smaller and generally more economical than the substantial beasts that come out of Detroit, but the difference isn’t as great as you might think from a quick glance at the numbers, for a simple reason: US gallons are smaller than British gallons. It’s surprising how many people don’t know this. Both gallons have eight pints, but a US pint is 16 fl.oz and a British one is 20 fl.oz (for some strange reason, probably to do with beer consumption). A UK gallon is therefore 25% bigger.

So, my fellow countrymen, when you read a US-based web page advertising a car that does 40mpg, remember that yours will have to do noticeably more than 50mpg before you are entitled to feel smug!

Enjoyed this post? Why not sign up to receive Status-Q in your inbox?

1 Comment

I actually just learned recently that British pints were a larger than the rest of the world. I have to say that beer was the first thing to pop into my mind about why that might be.

My car gets at least 45 US MPG around town and somewhere around 55 MPG on the highway. *smug*

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](http://example.com)

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax


© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser