Playoffs not a drag for Canada

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Thank your losing NHL team for improving your fuel efficiency

The NHL playoffs begin today, and no Canadian team made the cut. Although sad for some (and normal for those of us in Toronto), there is an upside:  removing those little team flags that flap on your car improves your fuel efficiency. Such flags increase the aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, forcing it to work harder and burn more fuel.

Dr. Antonio Filippone from the University of Manchester studied the car flag phenomenon during the 2006 soccer World Cup in England, and calculated that putting two flags on a vehicle increases fuel consumption by one litre every 100 kilometers when driving at 112 km/h. This may not seem like a lot at the individual level, but he estimated that if half a million cars around the world were flying such flags, a total of 1.22 million litres of fuel may have been wasted during the 2006 World Cup, while carbon emissions would have increased by 2.8 million kilograms.

So, as Earth Day approaches on April 22, perhaps we should be thankful not to have thousands of tiny car flags flapping about. Maybe by next year, we can figure out a better way for Canada to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.


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