Monday, November 19, 2007

MPG vs. MP$

I was reading a story in Outside magazine last night about Richard Branson, the Virgin Atlantic billionaire. He's been instrumental in setting some large prizes ($25M) to encourage folks to push the envelope in things like space travel and sustainability. X-Prizes they're called.

One that caught my eye was the Automotive X-Prize, offering multi-million$ to somebody who could create a market-ready automobile that gets 100 MPG.

But talk about boxing yourself in! Why are we still using the term miles per gallon for this sort of thing. "Gallon" assumes we're using gasoline. If we're really pushing the boundaries and looking for new technologies, shouldn't we be measuring automobile efficiency by something like MP$? My challenge would be to get somebody who can create a marketable car that can go 100 miles on $1 of input, be it electricity, biofuel, gasoline, blood of a virgin, whatever.

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