 Gasoline Usage Calculator

This is a calculator program that, when given the weight of an object (in tons, assuming standard Earth gravity) and the rate at which that object is moving (in miles per hour), calculates the volume of gasoline (in mL) required to accelerate the given object from a complete stop to the given speed, assuming that pure octane is used (including the multitude of other additives would make this calculator needlessly complex without greatly changing its results), and that there are no forces opposing this motion, such as friction.

The calculator also determines the number of mL needed in the given scenario if only 1/3 of the energy in the gasoline is converted into kinetic energy. This number is an approximation of the amount of gasoline used by the average automobile. Because the engines in these vehicles produce a lot of heat and sound energy that is not converted into kinetic energy, and friction in the engine and with the air and the road also take away some energy, only about 1/3 of the energy taken from the gasoline is used to move the car forward.

- Formula that Calculations are Based On: Joules = 1/2(kg)(meter/sec)2
- Conversion Factor: 0.0244 J Ton Mile Seconds / mL Hour kg Meter
- Pages of paper used to correctly identify this conversion factor: 7

- Programming Language Used by program: JavaScript

One last warning: Web browsers do not comprehend significant figures, so if numbers from this calculator are used in any calculations, know that the maximum number of significant figures for the 100% efficiency value is three. The 1/3 efficiency is an unmeasured estimate; it should not be used in precision calculations.

Here is the calculator:

 Tons Miles per Hour mL C8H18 Used (100% eff.) X 2 => mL C8H18 Used (1/3 eff.):

It doesn't take a lot of gasoline to create a large change in speed, does it? Now note that there are 3,784mL in a gallon. This is why a car with a gas tank holding just a few gallons of gasoline can go hundreds of miles. This is also why gas tank explosions are a bad thing; there's a lot of energy stored in those things, even when they're mostly empty.

Back to the main page | Back to What Is Octane page