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Imagine, if you will, taking a sheet of paper and cutting it in half. Now take one of those halves and cut it in half again. Now keep repeating the process. As you keep cutting, the difference in the size of the subsequent pieces gets progressively smaller. This simple example is a demonstration of why continuing to increase the fuel mileage of a vehicle has less and less impact once you get beyond about 35-40 mpg.

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The cash for clunkers compromise that was reached in Congress this week puts a lot of focus, understandably, on the miles per gallon rating of the cars in question. It's understandable because MPG is how most Americans think about fuel consumption. But, as we've discussed in the past, gallons per mile is another useful metric, and its proponents have updated their site with an article on Cash for Clunkers and the 1 GPM Principle.

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