Better fuel efficiency through better labels – gpm vs mpg

We all know how important language is in persuading people to think certain ways, and that certain words and phrases in common use are politicized rhetoric (think pro-life and pro-choice).  However, I never thought of “miles per gallon” as one of those potentially misleading phrases.  Until I read this in a Fuqua Alumni email:

For example, 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, even though the latter saves twice as much gas. (Going from 34 to 50 mpg saves 94 gallons; but from 18 to 28 mpg saves 198 gallons).

These mistaken impressions were corrected, however, when participants were presented with fuel efficiency expressed in gallons used per 100 miles rather than mpg. Viewed this way, 18 mpg becomes 5.5 gallons per 100 miles, and 28 mpg is 3.6 gallons per 100 miles — an $8 difference today.

“The reality that few people appreciate is that improving fuel efficiency from 10 to 20 mpg is actually a more significant savings than improving from 25 to 50 mpg for the same distance of driving,” Larrick said. (See table.)

See the full article here, including a video link.

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4 responses to “Better fuel efficiency through better labels – gpm vs mpg

  1. Pingback: MPG vs. GPM « MPG Blog: Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Info

  2. In Canada we measure Liters per Kilometer not miles per gallon. MPG almost means more to me because I hear lots from the US media. It’s not so much the conversion to metric that confuses me it’s the fact that it’s liquid over distance so a lower number is more efficient. I think I agree it’s better that way but difficult because of the popularity of MPG.

  3. Pingback: GPM Calculator « business IS personal

  4. Pingback: Gallons per One Hundred Thousand Miles | business *is* personal

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