Let’s Get Mad: Examining Mad Max Math

by steve on November 27, 2015

Hey, I really enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road.

Ok, they say fuel is scarce after the apocalypse and that seems very believable.  However, then you see this movie where they drive these giant vehicles at top speeds for days on end without running out of gas.  Makes you wonder what fuel consumption is really like in an imaginary world of the future where everything has gone horribly wrong, but sometimes you can have great fun blasting across the desert shooting things.

This Mad Max movie differs from the first three in that the characters engage in a dialog about logistics.  Avoiding spoilers, at one point characters figure they can drive their “fully loaded” motorcycles for 160 days across whatever trackless, waterless, etc wasteland is ahead of them.  OK then, let’s do some math:

Using figures from Burning Man, each person should have one gallon of water per day, so each motorcycle is carrying 160 gallons of water for this trip… Since this is obviously bonkers, we can figure Mad Max characters hardly need any water or food.  They are way tough, right?

So… let’s say that in addition to the 100+ gallons of water that each motorcycle carries they also manage to carry 20 gallons of gas.  (ok, don’t even think about how a motorcycle is going to carry all this stuff, because then you’ll start to wonder how they’d also have 160 days of food, and you’ll have to admit – after the bomb drops, people in Australia will be mega-tough.)

Calculation time: they think they can do 160 days of travel with the supplies they are carrying.  Let’s take a wild guess and say they average 150 miles per day.  That would mean they are expecting to get 1,200 miles per gallon of fuel.

So now you know how it’s possible for a warlord to have a fleet of supercharged vehicles tearing around the desert.  In today’s world you’re forced by The Man to buy gas for no reason.  Once everything is controlled by violent warlord gangs in the desert, the free market and technology will unleash a fleet of vehicles with highly fuel efficient technologies that will make the new world a truly joyous place to drive in.

See for yourself, here:


Now you know how it’s done!  Next up: mpg ratings for the space craft of Star Wars.

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