Tuesday, April 21, 2009

USA Today adds Gallons per 100 Miles

James Healey, the auto writer for USA Today, has added gallons per 100 miles to his car reviews.

In his Prius review, he writes: "How thirsty? Rated 51miles per gallon in town, 48 highway, 50 in combined driving. That's about 2 gallons per 100 miles, using the gallons-per-mile index that's emerging as a better measure of fuel use and cost. Trip computers in preproduction test cars showed: 56.2 mpg in suburbs (1.78 gallons per 100 miles); 48 mpg highway (2.08 gal./100 miles)."

In a chat session, a curious reader asked Healey: "I noticed the peculiar gas mileage listing in the Prius article, 1.78 gallons per 100 miles. What's that about?"

Healey replies, "It is, some folks argue pretty effectively, a crisper and more relevant way to compare vehicles and get a quick handle on the difference in fuel use and cost. A hybrid might use 2 gallons per 100 miles ($4 at today's prices) and a gasoline economy car might use 3 gal./100 mi ($6). You pretty quickly can decide from those numbers if the price premium for a hybrid is worth saving 1 gal. ($2) every 100 miles. Or take it out 1,000s -- 20 gallons ($40) for 1,000 mi. vs. 30 gal. ($60) per 1,000 mi. It's a takeoff of the Euro system, where fuel consumption is stated in liters per kilometer. Because the distance usually is fixed -- you drive 300 miles a week, week-in, week-out, for instance -- you can get a fast notion of consumption and cost."