Despite Cars Becoming More Powerful, Fuel Economy Is Improving

Industry News / 11 Comments

But the V8 is fast becoming a dying breed in the quest to improve fuel efficiency.

It's crazy to think we live in a world where the average car horsepower rating is 296. In around a year, that number is expected to increase to 300. And yet despite the fact cars are getting more powerful, they're significantly more fuel-efficient than ever before. According to a report by Bloomberg, the average fuel economy rating of new vehicles has climbed 24 percent since 2008 based on data analysis by Edmunds.

Conversely, the average horsepower rating has increased by 14 percent in the same period and has jumped by three percent this year alone. It was a very different story decades ago. If you wanted a fuel-efficient car, you would most likely be lumbered with an under-powered four-cylinder engine. Government regulations requiring improved fuel economy ratings has pushed automakers to develop new, more fuel-efficient four-cylinders. Many of them feature turbochargers or electric motors providing V6-like performance without sacrificing fuel economy. In fact, turbochargers and superchargers are becoming increasingly common in the US.


The report claims half of all new models sold in the US feature either a turbocharger or supercharger, up from 27 percent a decade ago. In that time, cars and trucks with an electric motor climbed from 2.5 percent to 10 percent. Conversely, thirsty V8 motors are on the decline: only 16 percent of US vehicles being sold this year are available with one. Even the mighty Mustang now packs a four-cylinder that is less than half the size of the car's traditional V8. That may seem like strategy for fans of Ford's pony car, but buyers prioritize horsepower and economy over the engine's physical size. New models like the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, on the other hand, will no longer be offered with a V8.


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