04 Jan '12, 6pm

Our cars, like our homes and basically EVERYTHING ELSE, have been supersized:

If, and this is true, automakers have made huge strides in fuel efficiency over the past 30 years, why aren't we all driving the 100-mpg ubercars we were promised at Epcot Center when we were but wee lads and lasses? The answer is that our cars, like our homes and just about everything else we consume, have been supersized, says MIT economist Christopher Knittel . Specifically, between 1980 and 2006, the average gas mileage of vehicles sold in the United States increased by slightly more than 15 percent — a relatively modest improvement. But during that time, Knittel has found, the average curb weight of those vehicles increased 26 percent, while their horsepower rose 107 percent. All factors being equal, fuel economy actually increased by 60 percent between 1980 and 2006. In other words, if cars today were built to the same scale as cars in 1980, when they had an average ...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2012-01-04-engineers-make-huge-...

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