Bike Fuel: MPB (Miles Per Burrito/Beer/Etc...)

It’s no secret that bikes are the most efficient machines around. Compared to cars and trucks, it’s really no contest. Of course it takes a ton of energy to move you from point A to point B when you’re driving the equivalent of a studio apartment around town, but what about moving your body under its own power?

Well, running a mile uses up about 110 calories, walking a mile will cost you 90 cals, meanwhile a 1-mile cruise on your bike only takes about 35 calories to get you there! That’s an awesome statistic, but it doesn’t really highlight the brilliance of bikes in a way that’s easy to digest. Let’s try to break it down another way – Miles per Burrito/Beer/Basically whatever you want to eat.

We wanted to figure out exactly how far you can make it on your lunch, afternoon snack, after-work drinks, etc… and how other modes of transport stack up compared to the bike.



First things first, since we know how many calories it takes to walk, run, and ride – we need to figure out how many calories it takes your car to drive you 1 mile too. Luckily we have the internet. The general consensus online seems to be that a gallon of gasoline contains about 31,500 calories (food calories, kCal for you science nerds), which is a heck of a meal for $4, but will leave a lot to be desired in the taste department.

Thanks to the EPA's mileage data, we can use that to figure that it takes an SUV like the Chevy Tahoe 1,968 calories to cover a mile in the city, a mid-sized sedan like the Ford Fusion burns 1,312 calories/city mile, and hybrids like the Prius “only” need 617 calories to make it those 5,280 feet. So you and your bike are nearly 20 times more efficient than a Prius, but how does that translate to the stuff we really care about – food and drink?

For our burrito, let’s just use my go-to on those Chipotle days. Thanks to their handy nutrition calculator, we can tell that one of their burritos with barbacoa, white rice, pinto beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole rings in at a staggering 1,345 calories – definitely a meaty enough meal to give us some serious fuel.

For our beers, we’ll use a gallon of the stuff you’re sure to encounter on your rides – PBR. A 12oz can or bottle of the bubbly stuff contains 144 calories, so a gallon of it will give us 1,536 calories (and one heck of a buzz).

The Results

And now, the exciting results fresh from the calculator! Check out the table below to find out exactly how far you could make it on different types of fuel.

Note: While for the sake of math we assumed you could drink a gallon of gasoline, or run your car on a gallon of beer, those are both actually terrible ideas in practice.


Mode of Transportation:

How far can you travel on:

1 Chipotle Burrito

1 Gallon of Beer

1 Gallon of Gasoline

SUV (Chevy Tahoe)

0.7 miles

0.8 miles

16 miles

Sedan (Ford Fusion)

1.0 miles

1.2 miles

24 miles

Hybrid (Toyota Prius)

2.2 miles

2.5 miles

51 miles


12.2 miles

14.0 miles

286 miles


17.9 miles

20.5 miles

420 miles

Riding a Bike

38.4 miles

43.9 miles

900 miles

We have a winner! Riding your bike you can expect about 38 miles per burrito, 44 miles per gallon of beer (or a bit over 4 miles per 12oz can), and, if you could drink gasoline, you’d get a whopping 900mpg!

And now we’re hungry. We’re going to go grab a bite to refuel. The next time you go for a ride, thank your lucky stars that you’re not getting SUV mileage and that, unlike a car, you get to taste all that delicious food before you burn it off. Let us know your favorite food/fuel in the comments – and happy feasting this holiday!

Other Fun Bike Fuel -> Distance Calculations

1 strip of bacon = 70 calories = 2 miles

1 Big Mac = 563 calories = 16 miles

1 5lb gummi bear = 6,120 calories = 175 miles

Happy Holidays!