Summer is finally here, and that means sports season is in full bloom. Whether you've caught World Cup fever this year or are just supporting your local baseball team, there's a lot to get excited about. However, if you've got one or more of those little pennants or flags attached to your car fluttering in the wind, your fan enthusiasm might be costing the world more than you might think.

There shouldn't be any surprise that hanging anything off of a car is going to add a little bit of additional aerodynamic drag, and that translates to a slight decrease in fuel economy. For one driver, the change is practically unnoticeable, but for a legion of fans, it can add up.

Treehugger, a website which clearly wears its pro-environment slant on its sleeve, cites a study by Dr. Antonio Filippone of Manchester University of the 2006 World Cup. It found that a car with two small flags attached used about a quarter gallon (one liter) of additional fuel per hour when traveling at 70 miles per hour. Referencing vehicles in England at that time, the study suggested the waving banners could account for a three-percent loss in fuel economy. However, Dr. Filippone estimates that with 500,000 cars flying the colors in England during that year's World Cup, the flags added an extra 322,000 gallons of gas and 6.2 million pounds of CO2, according to the BBC News.

Given the English teams' lackluster performance in this year's World Cup, there probably aren't too many flags flying in Blighty this year, but there are doubtlessly hundreds of thousands of similar flags proudly flying on cars in World-Cup-crazy countries around the world. No one is saying that a three-percent change in economy means that you shouldn't support your team, but it's interesting to contemplate how these tiny changes can add up.


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  • 34 Comments
      Carpinions
      • 6 Months Ago
      I get it, but seriously, how many people worldwide are flying that many flags on their car?
        Superstevie
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Carpinions
        Very few are like the picture in the car, but the study was based on two small flags, which is very common south of the border from me (England). I've just got back from a week in Germany, and I reckon about 35-40% of the cars there had a flag on them. So probably more common than you would think
          Lachmund
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Superstevie
          35-40% is ridiculously exaggerated.
      churchmotor
      • 5 Months Ago
      Obama solved this problem with his campaign promise to give everyone a tire gauge.
      Nicholas
      • 6 Months Ago
      Does EVERYTHING remotely car-related need to end up on Autoblog?
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      AB readers: By commenting, you encourage them to post "green" articles on the regular Autoblog section... because they incite lots of trolling and that feeds ad revenue.
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Hi Joeviocoe I think they are trolling everyone. But it was worth it to find the tip in the comments regarding the links between soccer, moral decay and the metric system:) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2671847/Americas-growing-soccer-sign-countrys-moral-decay-claims-Ann-Coulter.html
      weagle99
      • 6 Months Ago
      Is there an 'Autoblog Green' website for preachy articles such as this?
      Jarda
      • 6 Months Ago
      Please move this crap to the trash that AB Green is.
      AGSHOP
      • 5 Months Ago
      it looks so gay when there is a flag on a car. 2 flags on each side even super gayer.
      DawgByte
      • 5 Months Ago
      Add this to a long list of political troll articles published by left wing whack jobs employed here at Autoblog.com. This is the biggest bunch of PC horse hockey I've ever read in my life.
      thecommentator2013
      • 5 Months Ago
      I just came up with a shocking revelation: If we do anything more than laying down and breathing we produce excess C02! Let's halt any activity beyond breathing!
      goodoldgorr
      • 6 Months Ago
      Ahh these enthusiasms burn extra fuel, I saw numerous here with 2 flags of the hockey Canadian weeks ago. There is also the ones having big subwoofer boxes and amplifiers with oversized alternators that should lost 1 or 2 mpg. And there are these young standing up thru the windows yelling at peoples on downtown main street and these newly wedded carrying cans in the back of the car.
      Naturenut99
      • 6 Months Ago
      I would also suggest that no one should be driving with that many flags. He can barely see where he is going. Definitely, a safety hazard.
      landypd5
      • 5 Months Ago
      pointless blog
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