New Durant 'Chevrolet' expects 230 mpb

In which we posit that a once-upon-a-time new automobile from General Motors would have remarkable fuel efficiency rating--for horseless carriage.

Editors' note: A bold claim this week by General Motors, that its forthcoming Chevy Volt electric car would get 230 miles per gallon , prompted us to do some musing on a possible historical precedent.

For Release the 11th of August, AD 1909

Durant "Chevrolet" Expects 230 mpb in Town Jaunts

WARREN, Mich. - William Durant, chairman of the General Motors Company , announced to-day that his new "Chevrolet" gasoline automobile, named after famed racing-car driver Louis Chevrolet, will boast almost six times the fuel efficiency of a comparable horse-drawn carriage.

1913 Chevrolet Series C

Durant attributed this remarkable figure to a modern scientific method developed by the Equine Provisioning Agency of the Federal government in the District of Columbia.

"Whereas the EPA has determined that a ten-hundredweight carriage horse pulling a brougham with two passengers will consume one forty-pound bale of alfalfa hay for a day's travel of forty miles, this marvelous new automobile can travel some 230 miles on the same weight of gasoline."

And this despite an engine with the power of some 40 horses!

No representative of the EPA was present at this extraordinary news conference to elaborate on this new "miles per bale" standard, but Durant assured the attending members of the fourth estate that m.p.b. figures will become the gold standard of automobile efficiency measurements for all time.

One curmudgeonly figure at the back of the hall, however, was heard to complain that the 230 m.p.b. estimate was "an abstract number," and that one might just as well claim that any gasoline automobile can travel an "infinite" number of miles on a bale of hay. With a nod from Durant, a burly Pinkerton agent escorted this disagreeable nay-sayer out of the hall, and he was not heard from again.

The new "Chevrolet" will go on sale within two-score fortnights at the price of $2,150. Durant did not announce which of the General Motors brands will have the honor of selling the new motor-car. Though only society's elite--perhaps the lordly Harvardmen who so confidently shepherd the New York Stock Exchange--will have the pleasure of driving this magnificent machine, those of ordinary means may at least be proud that American know-how is behind such a glorious accomplishment.

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About the author

    Peter N. Glaskowsky is a computer architect in Silicon Valley and a technology analyst for the Envisioneering Group. He has designed chip- and board-level products in the defense and computer industries, managed design teams, and served as editor in chief of the industry newsletter "Microprocessor Report." He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.

     

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