SUV or Hybrid? A Familial, MPG Conundrum

The Puzzler

RAY: The answer isn't intuitive. Let's say you drive 200 miles with your tuned-up SUV. So, instead of getting 10 miles a gallon you're getting 11 miles per gallon, right? And that'll use up about 18 gallons of gas.

Now, if you kept the old hybrid to drive that same 200 miles you're going to use how many gallons of gas, two, right? So you've got 18 and 2, that's 20 gallons of gas, are you with me?

TOM: I'm with you.

RAY: For the same 200 miles driven, if you buy the new super-duper hybrid, you're going to use one gallon of gas to drive 200 miles.

TOM: So you're going to use one gallon of gas.

RAY: Right. One measly gallon. But because you didn't tune up the SUV, you're going to use 20 gallons at 10 miles a gallon. So instead of using 20 gallons of gasoline you're going to use 21 gallons of gasoline even with the brand-new hybrid. It's hard to believe. Do we have a winner?

TOM: What a great SAT question. Yes, we do have a winner. It's David Riley from Caldwell, Idaho. And for having his answer selected at random, David, you're going to get a 26 dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at where you can also get a brand-new stainless steel Car Talk thermos.

[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

Support for Car Talk is provided by:

Donate Your Car,
Support Your NPR Station

...and get a tax break!

Get Started

Find a Mechanic

Promo tile

Rocket Fuel