You have to hand it to those hyperefficient Germans. While American auto manufacturers keep wailing about how devastating it would be if the government raised fuel-economy standards by one mile per gallon, the clever engineers at Volkswagen went ahead and unveiled a car this year that gets 239 m.p.g.

Think how a car that gets 239 m.p.g. would stack up against our much-beloved gas guzzlers in a hypothetical ”race” between the VW and an S.U.V. that gets 15 m.p.g. Starting in New York City, each vehicle is given — let’s be generous here — 50 gallons of fuel to make a cross-country trip. While the S.U.V. would grind to a stop outside not-so-beautiful Gary, Ind., the 239 m.p.g. car could go all the way to Los Angeles and then have enough to go back to New York, back to L.A. once more, back to New York yet again and still have enough left over to make it to Chicago. More here.