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Old 03-03-2008, 03:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
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Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
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Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

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90 day: 52.8 mpg (US)

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90 day: 61.98 mpg (US)

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Graph: MPG vs. HP over time in the US passenger fleet


This is really interesting. A graph showing light duty passenger vehicle fuel economy vs. horsepower, weighted by sales volume from 1975-2006.

What it shows is that automakers chosen to build and market (and consumers have chosen to buy) power at the expense of efficiency, with average MPG stalled at around 21 mpg for 25 years:

But in the mid-1980s, oil prices fell, the economy picked up, and federal fuel-economy standards topped out. So car manufacturers switched gears, pouring their technological advances into increased vehicle weight and horsepower. As a result, automotive engineers spent most of their time trying to squeeze as much torque and acceleration out of their engines as possible. Efficiency gains stalled at first; and then later, with the rise of SUVs and other light trucks, fleet-wide fuel economy actually went into reverse.
The point of the piece isn't to rail against stalled fuel economy ratings, it was to point out that the pace of technological change in the auto industry (for squeezing ever more power from about the same amount of fuel) has been dramatically rapid.

The implication is that they should be able to deliver dramatic fuel efficiency results, should they chose to go after it with equal zeal.

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