Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Apropos of nothing

What is the metric equivalent to the word “mileage”? Kilometreage sounds dreadful and kludgy, but I’m not entirely sure what the appropriate analogue would be.


The Paralysis of Choice


Complementary Meme.


  1. “Distance”.

  2. In terms of fuel consumption it’s, well, “fuel consumption” or possibly “fuel usage”. Since those who use kilometres usually (perhaps always) quote the fuel consumption as litres per 100 kilometres (or l/100km), which is the other way up, there is no direct equivalent (6.2 l/100km ~= 45 mpg, 30mpg ~= 9.4 l/100km, using Imperial gallons not US ones).

    • I love the Imperial gallon/US gallon distinction. I occasionally explain to someone that, if you take your car to Great Britain, your MPG will immediately improve by 20%, and challenge them to figure out why.

      Or I point out that a really good fuel efficient car in the UK can get 45 mpg, while, here, we’d be happy if an equivalent car got 38 mpg.

      It’s fun thing to point out, and is actually relevant, because, the first time I was exposed to this was when someone pointed out, in all seriousness, that UK cars could get 45 mpg, but US ones couldn’t get 40 mpg, and suggesting that there was something, well, not exactly SINISTER about that, but that it proved that the United States wasn’t serious about the issue. Took me a while to find out WHY that was the case.

      • Well, there might also be US regs involved. I remember that the Chevy Sprint/Geo Metro got something close to 50mpg. (As in: I drove a Chevy Sprint, and *got* 50mpg sometimes.) But it’s not sold any more. And maybe it’s because it was so *small* (you could seriously feel like you were wearing it, not driving it). But I wonder if it just had to pass crash tests, and couldn’t -- it was very light!

        • Well, there might also be US regs involved.

          In more ways than one. For example, the process for determining fuel consumption rates is regulated -- but that process may be different in the two countries.

          • Such as, for instance, the UK uses UK gallons which are 20% larger than US gallons.

          • That is one point, yes. But also, mileage is determined by running the car in a test facility under specific conditions, for specified lengths of time at various speeds, and so on, to get some form of average. If the UK uses a different prescription from what the US EPA does, the results are apt to be different.

        • The Sprint/Metro was one of the least crash-survivable cars on the market, rated lowest of the low while it was being sold. I wonder whether the SmartCar is better. Maybe, now that airbags in seats are standard, and such.

      • Or the question I ask: “What’s bigger in Britain than in Texas?” Answer of course: the pint and the gallon. The miles, though, are the same size, it’s just that Texas has more of them…

  3. Canada is a metric country. Every one I know says mileage. We ask how many miles per gallon, not how many litres per 100 Kilometers. I don’t think there is a comparative term. Some people say “what’s the gas consumption like” but most people still say Mileage.

    • I took a train trip across Canada a few years ago and observed that while street signs seemed to be metric, the mileposts by the railroad tracks were indeed mileposts and not kilometer posts.

    • However, there is a large cultural influx from that big country below Canada which influences usage (for instance you use ‘gas’ instead of ‘petrol’ or ‘fuel’). Since metrication was only made legally required in the 1970s (some 5 years later than in the UK) there are still a lot of people who use the Imperial measurements (not, however, the US ones, the old Canadian pint and gallon were the Imperial ones). I’ve heard a lot of Canadians still using feet and inches for measurements (height for instance). It’s apparently still law that ‘Canadian’ units can be used (see Schedule II of the Weights and Measures Act on the Department of Justice site, The Ontario Ministry of Education even stated in 2005 that students would be taught to use both metric and Imperial measurements (

      Not what I’d think of as a “metric country”, more like Britain or Ireland where the “officially preferred” units are metric but ordinary usage is frequently mixed with the old measures (Britain still uses miles (and yards) in distance and speed; Ireland has officially changed to kilometres but a lot of the people still use miles, as recently as 1985 they had local signs in miles and national ones in km, without bothering to state the units in either case!).

      • Officially we should be using metric. The scientific and medical communities have done so for many years. I like to say that I’m bi-mensural. I know both metric and Imperial and understand and can work with them both. Imperial I understand at a gut level. Like, going reasonably fast on the main highways, you do a mile a minute. 1.6 kilometres per minutes doesn’t feel the same. For temperature, cold tends to be expressed in metric, and heat in Fahrenheit! 99 sounds so much hotter than 37.

        OTOH, I’ve got the conversions in my head since half my craft and cookbooks are US. The other half uses proper sensible units.

        Until the behemoth to the south comes into the present, we’re stuck with three sytems (metric, Imperial and US), and going back and forth between. We don’t have standard paper either.

        • Yes, kilometres go by too fast (as I found in Germany at the weekend) *g*. But I do measure my fuel consumption in l/100km because it’s the right way up (it increases as the use increases). But like you I can convert easily enough, and the mph/kph conversions I do automatically.

          Oh, me too about the temperatures. I think it was because in the UK we get temperatures mostly above freezing, 0-25C (32-85F, roughly), so the only time I encountered temperatures significantly below freezing was in science and that was already all metric. I think that for Britain the Fahrenheit scale is just right, we hardly ever get below 10F even in the north and similarly hardly ever above 99F, so for almost all daily temperature we’re nicely in 2 digits and using most of the range. Whereas Celcius is just wrong, a range from -10 to 37 doesn’t make any sense (and of course it’s still arbitrary, taking nominal melting and boiling points of ice at a particular pressure). (But I use Kelvin more, my maximum being conveniently at 300K.)

          Oddly, in the UK we do have standard paper (the metric sizes with A4 being the most common at around 11.6″ by 8.2″). The old sizes are now seldom seen outside specialist uses (I believe that some legal documents still use the Imperial sizes, but that may have changed).

  4. I would call it fuel efficiency. But that’s because I have a hopeless and futile language peeve about units being substituted for the quantity they measure. Like students saying “the degrees” when they mean angle.

  5. Metric “Mileage”?

    As others have said, there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent word currently in use.

    If you wanted to make up such a word (perhaps for a story set somewhat in the future with the word in use at that time), hmmm…. Since the common short form for kilometer is “klick” (i.e. “It’s 50 klicks from here”) I’d suggest “klickage”.

    • Re: Metric “Mileage”?

      Heh, that works.

      The whole thing was just my idly musing on what the metric equivalent of the colloquial expression “Your mileage may vary” would be.

  6. “Fuel Economy”?

    Since most of the places that think in Metric are a LOT less enamoured of American Chrome than we are…

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