Saturday, April 18, 2009

L/km or, I'm not crazy after all!

A while ago, I was having a friendly debate with someone who always has to be right. Being the same type of person, I wasn't giving up, either. We were talking somewhere about gas mileage in cars, and I mentioned my car in high school/college. It was an old BMW with a little computer thingy on the dash that would show different types of data like the temperature, time, average speed and gas consumption. Being American, I stuck a pencil in the little hole and changed the settings from metric to US standard, something I had to do every time the battery got disconnected (or ran out of power, something I often did by leaving the headlights on).

Gas consumption fascinated me, mostly because I always got lower than the rating, and also because the metric gas consumption was listed in liters per kilometer (or 100 km, I can't quite recall). Now, this guy, let's call him M, said that was a stupid thing and couldn't possibly be right. We appealed to his French co-worker who said they measure it in km/L. I was quickly voted down and that was that.

Today I came across this story about a typo on Fox News, and lo and behold, in comments some Australians remarked how mileage in their country is measured in L/100 km, and how it makes perfect sense if you want to figure out how much is needed to go a certain distance. I'd surmise this would be useful going to the Moon or across the Outback, but not so much in suburban America.

Sadly, I won't get to lord this over M. One night he drunkenly berated me for disliking the black vans that drive around waking me up in the morning, telling me I have no rights in this country. Not hanging out with him again.

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