In case you've been wondering, the verdict is in: evolution beats engineering.
No matter how efficient we make our vehicles, they're never going to be as efficient as a honey bee. NPR's Robert Krulwich recently brought the efficiency of bees to our attention with a piece comparing the little honeymaker to the Volkswagen L1 concept, which VW called ""the most fuel-efficient automobile in the world." Sure, the L1 gets 170 miles per gallon, but what happens when you figure out how far a bee could go on a gallon of honey? Using an interesting tie-a-bee-to-a-pole method, Canadian scientist Brian Hocking calculated Bee Miles Per Gallon back in 1957.
We won't spoil the real number here; we'll just say that it's a four followed by six digits (!). Should we ever come close to reaching that mark with our vehicles, it's likely that bees will have evolved to be even more efficient in the intervening millennia. Still, let's not give up the fight.
[Source: NPR | Image: aussiegall - C.C. License 2.0]