What Distance/Speed Measurement do you officially use in the UK? Imperial or Metric?

Maserati7200

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
It's mainly the United States that uses the imperial system (miles, inches feet, etc) and some people in the UK, even though the imperial system was invented by the british. I first thought that all of the world besides the USA uses the metric system, until I started watching Top Gear (a show from the United Kingdom, a great show, watch it) when I noticed that they used the imperial system on that show. It seemed like that was the native usage. But other people I talk to say that they use the metric system in the UK, and some youtube video I watched with British reporting used the metric system. So I want to ask the British/Irish first hand (and I know we have a lot of people from the UK on this forum): what do you use, what is more common in your country. KTHXLOVEUALLBYE
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,552
2,886
I use both, but I always say miles. None of my friends or family use kilometres. Inches, miles, ounces, centimetres, pounds, Sterling, Euros, yey long, so big, furlong, over thuuur.
 

OllyW

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 11, 2005
16,747
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The Black Country, England
The speed limits and road signs are all imperial, so that's what we use. :)

It would cost a bloody fortune to change everything over so it's best left as it is.
 

yojitani

macrumors 68000
Apr 28, 2005
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An octopus's garden
Officially for speed it's miles per hour, but defying all logic you buy petrol in litres, salami in grams (or kilos should you be so inclined), temperature in centigrade... There was a transition period in the 90s between imperial and metric but for whatever reason speed and distance did not join the club.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
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An Island in the Salish Sea
I thought we were confused in Canada (Imperial/Metric) - but it sounds like the UK is even more so.... When we were imperial we had the added confusion of needing to specify an imperial or American gallon (about a 20% difference, so sometimes it was important to know).

I would have thought the UK was more metricized being so close to the EU, oh well.
 

nick9191

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2008
3,270
1
Britain
Unofficially, we use imperial for just about everything. Miles, feet, inches, pounds. Officially, it's miles for the roads, then a mixture of imperial and metric for other stuff (loose goods that need weighing for example, you can ask for it in pounds or kilos). But no one uses metric, we all hate Europe (seriously).
 

macdim

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2007
355
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Canada
Canada has it right in this area. Metric just makes more sense. Younger Canadians don't even know imperial units anymore besides the yard (for golfers). Height and weight continue to be imperial in everyday conversation, but in official documents, everything is metric.
 

OllyW

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Oct 11, 2005
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The Black Country, England
Unofficially, we use imperial for just about everything. Miles, feet, inches, pounds. Officially, it's miles for the roads, then a mixture of imperial and metric for other stuff (loose goods that need weighing for example, you can ask for it in pounds or kilos). But no one uses metric, we all hate Europe (seriously).
Fortunately, we have embraced the metric system for engineering since the early 1980's.

Shudders at the distant memories of working in 64ths of an inch. :eek:
 

Pixellated

macrumors 65816
Apr 1, 2008
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We use a mixture, really. We use miles commonly, but then we also use metres, litres in petrol stations and drinks are in ml too.
 

OllyW

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Oct 11, 2005
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So you order a .57 litre of beer at the pub. I just stick with a pint. :D
No, it's still pints in the pub but canned beer is metric.

Fizzy pop comes in 2 litre bottles. Milk is sold in pints and litres. Eggs are still sold by the dozen (or half dozen).

It's totally mixed up but seems to make sense. :D
 

OllyW

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Staff member
Oct 11, 2005
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The Black Country, England
What measure do they use in the rest of Europe when ordering beer?
In Ireland they still use the pint for beer but in mainland Europe it's metric.

You usually get beer served in a half litre (500ml) glass, which is smaller than a UK pint but larger than a US pint. Unless you are in Germany where they serve it by the litre.

 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
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In Ireland they still use the pint for beer but in mainland Europe it's metric.

You usually get beer served in a half litre (500ml) glass, which is smaller than a UK pint but larger than a US pint. Unless you are in Germany where they serve it by the litre.

And as evidenced by the photo, you can fill about 140 litre glasses from a 100 litre barrel :mad:
 

yojitani

macrumors 68000
Apr 28, 2005
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An octopus's garden
Canada has it right in this area. Metric just makes more sense. Younger Canadians don't even know imperial units anymore besides the yard (for golfers). Height and weight continue to be imperial in everyday conversation, but in official documents, everything is metric.
If only your neighbors to the south could try making sense. :D
 

StruckANerve

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2008
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Rio Rancho, NM
I've never heard the term "Imperial" before. I always thought it was referred to as "Standard". Maybe that's just a car thing. I have to say I hate the imperial system with a passion. It's idiotic and ridiculously over complicated. It also annoys me that I have to have 2 sets of tools.
 

flopticalcube

macrumors G4
Imperial came about from the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824. Since the US had already split from the Empire since then, they stayed with the older "Standard". One of the biggest differences is in the measure of a gallon which is 4.546 liters in the imperial system but only 3.785 in the standard system.
 

afd

macrumors 65816
Apr 12, 2005
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Scotland
It is really confusing over here. I'd rather we went one way or the other. Drinks in pubs are pints for beer and ml for wine/spirits. On the roads we have miles and we still have miles per gallon but we buy fuel in litres. Wood and other materials are sold in feet/inches but converted to mm, I.e. A four x eight sheet of ply is sold as 2440 x 1220…
The schools only teach metric units, and have done so for as long as I can remember, and I'm 42 so the people that know imperial as their first units of measurement must be in the minority by now, so why we still persist imperial I don't know.
 

Nermal

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Dec 7, 2002
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New Zealand
No, it's still pints in the pub but canned beer is metric.

Fizzy pop comes in 2 litre bottles. Milk is sold in pints and litres. Eggs are still sold by the dozen (or half dozen).

It's totally mixed up but seems to make sense. :D
When I was in the US a few months ago I was dumbfounded by liquids apparently being sold in ounces until they hit a litre, at which point they switch to litres :rolleyes: