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In America, we measure fuel efficiency of our cars by citing the number of miles you can drive on one gallon of gas (mi/gal). In Europe, the same information is given by quoting how many liters of gas it takes to go 100 km (li/100 km).

- My current car gets 21 mi/gal in highway travel. What number (in li/100 km) should I give to my Swedish friend so that he can compare it to his Volvo?
- The car I drove in England last summer needed 6 liters of gas to go 100 km. How many mi/gal did it get?
- If my car has a fuel efficiency,
*f*, in miles/gallon, what is its European efficiency,*e*, in liters/100 km? (Write an equation that would permit you to make an easy conversion from one to the other or back.) - The fact that the US figure,
*f*, and the European figure,*e*, are inverses mean that they behave differently. Suppose you compare three cars: an SUV that gets 10 mi/gal, a compact car that gets 20 mi/gal, and a hybrid that gets 35 mi/gal. Make a guess as to which transition will save you more money: changing from the SUV to the compact or changing from the compact to the hybrid? Assuming that gas costs $4/gal and you drive 1000 mi/month, which transition would save you more money? Calculate the European values for these three cars. Which figure,*e*or*f*gives you a better idea of which shift will save you more money? Explain why.

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Page last modified September 4, 2008: G04