interview > heywood > heywood 9
Heywood 9 (2:11)
Topic(s): Car Culture / Government
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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