Two SUVs

A new Duke University study has found that while individuals tend to think of fuel efficiency as linear, it really isn’t; doubling the efficiency of an SUV saves far more gas than doubling that of a smaller, more efficient car. The study found that when presented with more information about gallons per 100 miles on different vehicle types, subjects were much more likely to make the right fuel efficiency choice:

 Richard Larrick and Jack Soll of Duke University in the US say that a simple switch from expressing a car’s fuel efficiency in miles per gallon (mpg) to gallons per 100 miles makes it much easier for people to assess how much money they could save on fuel.

We always love to see our ideas crop up in new places, especially when its highly topical in light of $4/gallon gas.  So naturally I was excited when I came across an article in yesterday’s New Scientist that reinforces something we’ve been writing about for a while now.

The article goes on to reiterate that if we want to get serious about immediately cutting our carbon emissions, we need to focus on improving gas guzzlers instead of searching for a 100 mpg super-car

Moving away from a car-only society by expanding our transportation options would be an even better solution yet, seeing as the  bicycle is the most efficient vehicle out there.  Still, getting accurate and useful information about fuel efficiency to consumers will help improve fleet efficiency—and is a huge step in the right direction.


Image courtesy of Flickr user d10b Q8 under a Creative Commons license.