The Frappuccino Effect

A librarian (the world would be a better place if there were more of them) waxes reflective on her hybrid car. Among other things, she notes:

Every car needs a MPG gauge. MPG gauges should be mandatory in vehicles. I think of this as the Frappuchino Effect, from the time my father called me to say he had learned that Frappuchinos had hundreds of calories. My dad has a bad heart, and to keep the load on his body light he’s watched his weight as long as I can remember. What seemed like a simple treat turned radioactive to him (and for that matter, to me). In the same vein, a MPG gauge in every car could get everyone driving smarter.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 at 7:03 am and is filed under Cars, Drivers, Energy, Etc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “The Frappuccino Effect”

  1. Jack Says:

    In the four cars I’ve owned in driving over 40 years was a BMW with a mpg gauge. It was a constant challenge to keep it high and the data helped to confirm the value of efficient driving habits and how they are enhanced by manual gear boxes. An important part of good driving habits is the signs that are sent to other drivers through such equipment as brake lights. It’s easy to tell who’s driving automatics by the numerous times brake lights are unnecessarily lit which sends misleading signals and wastes fuel. Until you have valuable info like this too many will remain in the dark on the value of smart driving.

  2. Mike Chalkley Says:

    I have had a couple of BMWs with MPG guages. If you are motivated to save gas then, yes, they are an aid though I would argue not 100% necessary and perhaps too much of a distraction from the road? (that’s from a UK perspective BTW)

    If, like me, you own a V8 3.0 litre BMW for your pleasure car & drive a 1.2 micro-car for most use, the meter eventually becomes blanked from perceptive view.

    Initially it scares the crap out of you but with a desire to not know exactly how much your relaxing drive is costing you your mind quickly learns to ignore it.

    When you go into a coffee shop you have a wide choice of less-fattening beverages. Driving a car you have less choice & the eventual gain may not be perceptible enough for most people to buy into this way of thinking?

  3. aaron Says:

    Keeping the load light on your heart is the wrong approach in both instances. A balance of heavy and light load is what you really want.

    Agree and the gas computer, but the are problems of mis-use. Watching instantaneous MPG can encourage bad habits, like accelerating too slowly. Seeing MPG dip sharply for a short time can lead people to spend a long time at moderate high consumption and less time cruising at very low consumption.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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