17 August 2009

On our trip from Lyon to Bonn on Saturday, we set a new fuel efficiency record with the campervan. It used 6.9 L/100km – that’s 40 mpg (UK) or 34 mpg (US). Okay, that’s not so impressive when compared to the Mini Cooper D (4.4 L/100km). But seeing that the van sleeps four when parked, a more apt reference may be Bob Cringely’s Winnebago, which uses six times as much.

A note on the units: US and UK “mpg”s are based on different size gallons. The Imperial (UK) gallon is exactly 4.54609 litres, and the US liquid gallon approximately 3.79 litres. That’s quite a difference. At least they agree on how long a mile is (1 statute mile = 1609.344 metres).

As a staunch supporter of le Système international d’unités, I should of course insist that, since fuel consumption is a division of volume by length, it should be given as an area and expressed in metres squared. Our fuel consumption was thus 6.9⋄10-8 m2. That’s roughly the size of a single pixel on your display. Intuitive, isn’t it? 🙂


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