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May 30 2012

Saving the planet, one Ferrari at a time

You can’t say the one-percenters don’t care about the environment. Ferrari is releasing a hybrid version of their car for a mere $850,000.

One may wonder why anyone who would buy an expensive gas guzzler would bother to consider fuel efficiency at all. But oddly enough, it turns out that even a small increase in fuel efficiency for a gas guzzler results in a bigger reduction in gas consumption than a similar increase for a smaller car, assuming that the number of miles driven remains the same.

Consider a car owner who drives 1000 miles a month. If that car is a Ferrari that gets just 14 mpg, that consumes 71.5 gallons. Increasing the efficiency to 16 mpg (a 14% increase) will result in a monthly fuel consumption of 62.5 gallons, a reduction of 9 gallons.

But if the owner drives the 1000 miles in a Honda Civic that gets 32 mpg, that would consume 31.25 gallons per month. To reduce that by 9 gallons would require the Civic to improve its fuel efficiency to 45 mpg, a 41% increase, nearly three times that of the Ferrari.

So while driving fuel-efficient cars is better for overall reduction in gas usage, if people are going to continue to drive gas guzzlers, improving their fuel efficiency seems to give a bigger payoff.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Yeah, but, durnnit, I want one!

    I’ll never have one, not got a hope in hades of affording it ever, but still ..

  2. 2
    Paul Jarc

    If we are deciding where to spend our engineering expertise, then the least efficient models do stand to gain the most on a per-vehicle basis, but we should also consider how popular the model is. Even a 14% improvement on the Civic probably outweighs a 14% improvement on a Ferrari, because there are so many more Civics being bought and driven than Ferraris.

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    So with the improvement the Ferrari driver is only using twice as much gas as the Honda driver to go the same distance.

  4. 4
    Brad

    That’s why we ought to measure gas efficiency as gallons per mile (or per 100 miles) instead of miles per gallons.

    Lots of articles out there about why this helps us think more accurately about fuel economy. Here’s one: http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/06/19/us-fuel-efficiency-idUSN1925607520080619

    That’s basically the conversion you’ve already done in your article (your was for 1000 miles instead of 100).

    Based on this, though, your “14%” vs “40%” increase in MPG isn’t really the right way to measure it (as you already found), and you’re not really making a fair comparison:

    Using GPHM (gallons per hundred miles) using your example, we get the following:

    Ferrari before: 7.14 GPHM
    Ferrari after: 6.25 GPHM
    Savings: 0.9 GPHM, or a 12.5% reduction in fuel consumption

    Civic before: 3.125 GPHM
    Civic after: 2.22 GPHM
    Savings: 0.9 GPHM, which is actually a 29% reduction in fuel consumption.

    If you wanted the same 12.5% reduction in fuel consumption on the Civic, you’d only need to get 2.73 GPHM, which converts back to 36.6 MPG.

  5. 5
    augustpamplona

    In Europe consumption is measured in liters per 100 kilometers

  6. 6
    Jared A

    I thought the point of the electric engines in the ferrari hybrid was to boost performance (i.e., horse power) and not the gas mileage.

  7. 7
    jolo5309

    Canada too, pretty much everywhere except the US

  8. 8
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Posted on the older overheating climate thread here as well -hope that’s okay, my apologies &pleaes let me know if not.

    Something to think about folks regarding the Human Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) issue.

    Check out this scary counter / tracker here :

    http://www.dbcca.com/dbcca/EN/

    showing the metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as of now.

    One easy experiment to try – write down that ten digit number, use questions marks for the last three or four digits because they change too quickly to be captured in a glance. Write down the time. Come back in an hour or three hours or a day and chck again.

    Contemplate the implications.

    As of fifteen minutes ago for me : 3,704,242,817,???

  9. 9
    scottplumer

    The bigger story here (to me, anyway) is that one needn’t sacrifice performance for improved fuel efficiency. I’m interested to see what the lads on Top Gear will think of it.

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