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Heywood 9 (2:11)
Topic(s): Car Culture / Government
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Video Transcript

People ask, "Well, why hasn't fuel consumption—gallons per hundred miles, the upside-down version of miles per gallon—why hasn't that got better over the last 25 years?" And that's a very important question and we're starting to understand how challenging improving on-the-road, actual driving fuel consumption is. Engines and transmissions have got steadily more efficient year by year by year by year by year. So it's better technology.

Then the question is, "What do we do with these more powerful and more efficient engines?" And some careful studies have shown that the last 25 years, we've put these technology improvements in engines, which are real and have improved the efficiency and power of engines. We've put them into increasing vehicle performance so our vehicles accelerate faster, more aggressively and we've put them into larger vehicles, heavier vehicles. We've got somewhat more accessories on board. We're using more power on board just to keep the vehicle warm, cool, other sort of audio features, etc. So the efficiency improvements have been there, engines have got more efficient, but we've used it for other things than improving actual fuel used per mile traveled.

So performance has got steadily better, higher, faster, and vehicles have got bigger and heavier. Now, we're better off because these vehicles are more efficient. Had they not been more efficient, we'd be even worse off. But we haven't gained. We've sort of stood still. Now, can we gain? Well, yes. But we've got to make some choices. If we keep investing the better technology in ever higher and higher performance, and larger and therefore heavier vehicles, we're not going to gain. We're only going to partially gain. So we got to come to terms with our lust for higher-performing vehicles.



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