What We Measure Is Important

What we measure is important. It shows the things we are preoccupied with as a society and it enables individual action. We don't measure that which we consider unimportant. It is impossible to act consistently if you have no feedback on what you are doing. The fact that our cars all have odometers for measuring distance traveled and speedometers for showing how fast we are going but no instrument to show the instantaneous gas mileage (ie gallons per hundred miles or GPHM) shows how little Americans think about fuel. Gasoline is considered to be something which will always be so cheap and available that it is not worth measuring. The lack of such an instrument makes it hard to adjust your driving habits to improve fuel economy. However, throughout the world attitudes are starting to change. For example, in Britain all homes are going to be fitted with new electricity meters that show the instantaneous consumption, so that homeowners can see the energy cost of turning on an appliance or activating the air conditioning. You can upgrade the instrument panel of your car to show you instant fuel usage by installing something like the scangauge. I believe that all cars should be required to include in their instrumentation a meter showing instantaneous fuel economy. That would both make us think about saving on gas and make it a lot easier to learn how to do it.

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