Gallons to Go

Knowing your car's miles per gallon isn't going to get you very far. Last summer, Richard Larrick and Jack Soll, professors at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, published a paper arguing that Americans did not understand how fuel efficiency works. They found that most people assumed that improving a car's..

Knowing your car's miles per gallon isn't going to get you very far.

Last summer, Richard Larrick and Jack Soll, professors at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, published a paper arguing that Americans did not understand how fuel efficiency works. They found that most people assumed that improving a car's miles per gallon from 25 mpg to 50 mpg would save more gas over 10,000 miles than an improvement from 10 mpg to 20 mpg. But when you do the math, the latter saves more than twice as much (see chart). "Miles per gallon," they argued, was misleading and did not help drivers understand how much gas they were using. The proposed solution: gallons per mile.GOOD: So, miles per gallon doesn't actually measure how much gas you use?RICHARD LARRICK: The paper was cowritten with a colleague of mine and we actually live near each other and carpool in his Camry hybrid, which has an mpg readout on it. One day, we were watching it and seeing the good and bad mileage. We were thinking about whether you could average together the miles-per-gallon readout to get total miles per gallon, and we realized that the math of miles per gallon gets tricky and it can be really misleading.Imagine that you are driving uphill for 100 miles and you're getting 10 miles per gallon, and then you just turned around and drove down the same hill for 100 miles and you got 100 miles per gallon on the way downhill. And the question is: What is your average miles per gallon over that distance?It feels like it should be about 50, but it turns out it's 20.The amount of gas you're using to go 100 miles when you're getting 10 mpg is 10 gallons. And when you're getting 100 mpg as you're driving 100 miles, you use just one gallon. So you're using a total of 11 gallons to go 200 miles, and that gets you a little bit under 20 miles per gallon.G: Do you have any idea how we ended up with this measurement of fuel economy that doesn't really tell us how much gas we're using?RL: [My colleague and I] speculate that when we first had cars, and gas stations were few and far between, maybe it actually mattered that you knew exactly how far you could go on a tank of gas before needing to be able to refill it.G: Are you seeing more and more people considering using gallons per mile?RL: A little bit. One of the things we've discovered in the process of publishing this and having it be publicized quite a bit over the summer was that conversations like this had gone on at Consumer Reports and car magazines in the past. The engineers know that there's this problem with miles per gallon. But everyone assumes that because we're so used to mpg-which we are-that people are not going to be open to changing anything.I'm kind of frustrated because I've tried to reach out to the EPA several times. The one thing they do [on] is gallons per 25 miles. So that is there. And that's been there since before we did our research. But my problem with that is that 25 miles is too small a distance to actually see the difference in cars. So it's always .9, 1.2, 1.1-to me, all those numbers of gallons look the same.We actually prefer 10,000 miles. The key thing about 10,000 miles is that is the distance that many people drive in a year. In fact, they often drive more. It really gives you a sense of, Okay, a year's worth of driving is going to use 400 gallons, or 700 gallons.G: What about car companies? Any sense they'll start using different numbers?RL: People are always curious-who does this benefit? I'm not really sure if Toyota or Detroit is favored more by this. But I think you can make the argument that it's Detroit, which was putting hybrids on SUVs and being ridiculed for it. Well, our analysis indicates that's exactly right. Because to get a car from 14 mpg to 20 mpg is just a huge, huge improvement in reducing gas consumption.I do know that, in 2004, Honda and Toyota called for supplementing miles per gallon with gallons per 100 miles. And I only discovered this after we published the paper, so it wasn't something we were able to even cite because we didn't even know about it at the time. They heard people complaining that the Prius wasn't getting 50 mpg and that it was getting 42 mpg instead, and people were so frustrated to lose the eight miles per gallon, but once you flip the numbers over you realize you're talking about a few gallons per hundred miles.G: So, what's the next step? How can we use this new knowledge?RL: This helps us understand that pulling cars out of the teens [in terms of miles per gallon] is so much more valuable than pushing an efficient car even higher. That only becomes clear when you start thinking about gallons per mile. That tiny increase from 10 mpg to 11 mpg saves essentially the same one gallon of gas every 100 miles as does increasing 33 mpg to 50 mpg.In no way do we advocate that people should stop at 11 mpg, but it at least focuses your attention on getting all those cars in the teens up into the twenties where literally hundreds of gallons of gas will be saved for every 10,000 miles of driving.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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