Posted on

Miles, Kilometres, Pints and Litres – a light hearted look

Someone asked me today if an American mile was the same as a British one. I said it was but the US gallon was slightly different (the context of our chat was miles per gallon). This led to me finishing the conversation and immediately jumping onto Google and Wikipedia for a definitive answer. I was right about the miles and the gallons are indeed different. My daughter has recently asked me about my Km/L (Kilometres per Litre) fuel consumption but I replied that I was still ‘old school’ and talked in MPG (Miles Per Gallon) terms. I did the responsible parent thing though and tried to educate her by explaining the magic mileage conversion figures of 1 mile=1.609344 kilometres, a number that rolls off the tongue. When I added that 1 gallon = 4.55609 litres she ran away screaming.

You may be interested to know that an American pint is 16 American ounces (473 ml), while a British pint is 20 British ounces (568 ml). The more mathematically minded amongst you will probably note that an American ounce must therefore be larger than the British kind.  Canadian pints are stranger still because Canada runs the metric system, so there is no legal definition of an ounce or a pint. In an Irish-Canadian bar you might be lucky and get served a British pint, while in some other places you will get fobbed off with an American pint. Happened to me last year actually, I thought it looked small!

Apparently, the most common definition in Canadian bars is that a pint of beer is half a litre, but some trendier bars selling bottled European beer will try and sell you ‘Belgian pints’ (quarter of a litre). Now my head is spinning and it isn’t the alcohol…..

Australians don’t really know what a pint is either according to Wikipedia, a pint of beer in Australia is 570 ml but a pint of milk is 600 ml. Work that one out. Some might say they don’t know what beer is anyway but let’s not go there….