Soccer Nuts Wasting Fuel with Flags

silly flags on cars photo

It is the Euro 2008 soccer championships and this city is going nuts. Every second car on the street is festooned with little flags; perhaps they shouldn't be. Engineers are quoted in the Guardian as saying that that the flags, which are usually attached to window frames, cause wind resistance, which alters a car's aerodynamics and causes it to burn more fuel.

The Austrian car club says "attaching two flags to a car leads to an increased petrol consumption of "up to half a litre a kilometre on motorways and rural stretches".

The Germans accuse the Austrians of being spoilsports. "As Austria has no chance of victory, it would appear they're trying to make this into a problem for Germany. The eco party poopers have managed to declare even football a climate-killer ... there are no sacred cows any more when it comes to the climate debate."

In this case, the Germans might have a point. Half a litre per kilometer is about a 5% hit on fuel efficiency; can a couple of dinky flags do that? UPDATE: no, I am off in my decimal points. it is a 500% hit on fuel efficiency. Something isn't right at the Austrian Car Club. UPDATE: a German reader informs us that the original article claimed "Auf Überlandfahrten oder auf der Autobahn können die Fan-Mobile ungefähr einen halben Liter mehr Kraftstoff auf 100 Kilometer verbrauchen." or half a liter per 100 kilometers, or a 5% hit on performance. ::Guardian

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