Car & Truck Trends: Faster, More Powerful, Bigger, Heavier, and More Fuel-Efficient

Americans like big, fast, powerful equipment more than ever. Four decades of horsepower, MPG, 0-60 acceleration, size, and weight.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The EPA Automotive Trends Report for 2022 was released today, with final data for the 2021 model year and preliminary data for the 2022 model year. It boils down to this: faster, more powerful, more fuel-efficient, heavier, and bigger (and they’re a lot more expensive because that’s where the money is, laughing out loud and laughing out louder).

The EPA collected this data from automakers for vehicles produced for the US market. The report divides vehicles into five basic types: sedan, crossover (a smaller SUV on a sedan chassis, what the report calls “car SUV”), minivan, pickup, and “truck SUV” (SUV that by weight or by chassis is closer to a truck than a car).

More efficient: MPG jumps by most in 10 years.

Overall miles per gallon increased by 0.9 MPG, to a record of 26.4 MPG in 2022, the biggest year-over-year increase in 10 years (red line). Part of it was the improvement in fuel efficiency of each vehicle, and part of it was a shift in the mix in the 2022 model year to fuel-efficient models and powertrains, and to EVs, in response to the surge in the price of gasoline late last year and earlier this year. Sedans averaged 33.7 mpg (green) and pickups 20.1 mpg (black).

Horsepower: You can never have too much power?

Overall average horsepower in the 2022 model year, based on the mix it was produced and sold in the US, jumped to a record 272 hp, from 252 hp in the prior model year. This 18.9 hp increase was the biggest ever increase from one model year to the next.

Since 1980, average horsepower has increased by 167%, from 102 hp in 1980 (remember those dogs, when automakers were struggling to implement emission controls, catalytic converters, and what not, that all degraded the power output of the engines at the time?). Horsepower started rising again with fuel injection and electronic engine management systems that were become more common in the mid-1980s.

In terms of horsepower, pickups are king of the hill. The first model year that the average of the mix of pickups went over 300 hp was 2011. For the model year 2022, the average was 339 hp. When the 600 hp EV pickups are being produced in larger numbers, they will move those figures into the stratosphere.

The average horsepower of sedans and crossovers has shot up over the past two years, from 205 hp in 2019 to 214 hp in 2021, and to 243 hp in 2022, in part because EVs have taken off, and they have prodigious amounts of power. For the 2022 model year, over 7% of all vehicles are EVs, according to estimates in the report, and most of them were sedans and crossovers, and within these types of vehicles, the EV share was much larger.

Performance by Automaker. No figures are yet available for the 2022 model year, but today’s report released the final figures for the 2021 model year, in terms of weighted average horsepower and 0-60 times (in seconds) by automaker.

Automaker HP 0 – 60 (sec.)
Tesla 376 4.8
BMW 299 6.3
Mercedes 304 6.6
Ford 299 6.9
Stellantis 304 7.1
VW 269 7.2
GM 288 7.5
Other 270 7.7
All automakers 253 7.7
Honda 212 7.8
Toyota 224 7.8
Kia 190 8.5
Hyundai 194 8.6
Mazda 197 8.8
Nissan 195 9.0
Subaru 195 9.1

Bigger, of course.

The footprint overall for the model year 2022 rose to 51.7 square feet per vehicle, a record in the EPA data going back to 2008. Every vehicle type got bigger because Americans love big equipment. The world produces plenty of small and tiny vehicles, and some are available in the US, but their sales are just a flyspeck – no matter how hard automakers are trying – compared to the big equipment.

The biggest equipment of all are pickups. Their footprint rose to 65.9 square feet, from 62 square feet in 2008. Sedans and crossovers average out about the same and are at the low-end of the scale with 47.2 square feet for sedans, and just a tad more for crossovers, but they have gotten larger too:

Weight: Power, size, and luxury weigh something.

More power, 10-speed transmissions, bigger vehicles, and more loaded vehicles, the shift over the years from sedans to pickups and “truck SUVs”… well, this stuff has a weight. Overall vehicle weight (which the report defines as weight of the empty vehicle plus 300 lbs) rose to 4,329 lbs.

There is a broad range of weight within each model, depending on equipment and configuration. For example (using “curb weight” provided by the manufacturer):

  • Ford F-series pickup ranges from 4,021 lbs for a base F-150 regular cab, to 5,800 lbs for an F-150 Raptor, to 7,500 lbs for an F-250 with a diesel.
  • Tesla Model 3 ranges from 3,560 lbs for the base version, to 4,180 lbs for the long-range dual-motor all-wheel drive version.

The EPA data here is the average by vehicle type based on the model-year mix produced for delivery in the US. For the 2022 model year, the average weight overall (red line) rose to record 4,329 lbs. For pickups, it rose to 5,239 lbs (black line). For sedans, it rose to 3,628 lbs (green line):

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.

  112 comments for “Car & Truck Trends: Faster, More Powerful, Bigger, Heavier, and More Fuel-Efficient

  1. Gattopardo says:

    Those 0-60 times would have been the stuff of dreams back in the ’80s. Crazy to think those are averages.

    • Prairie Rider says:


      Perhaps readers have seen me comment about Mate Rimac’s EV, the Nevera. It is on a production run of 150 vehicles, and is expensive. But the technology this company has is breathtaking.

      My 2019 V4 Tuono motorbike does zero to 200 kph in 8.1 seconds. That’s fast, yeah? Uh, nope. The Rimac does zero to 300 kph in 9.3 seconds. My bike was only $15k new when I bought it in January 2020 though. The Rimac is a bit more pricey.

      From Adrian Newey’s, ‘How To Build A Car’:
      “If I could design a road car from a clean sheet of paper, what would I want?

      It must be beautiful and be a piece of art, so that even if you never drive it you still derive joy from owning it and looking at it.

      Second, when you drive it, you must feel a tingle of excitement before you even get in; maybe even trepidation that this thing is slightly intimidating, but also the confidence that you can master it as long as you are respectful and have your wits about you.

      It must sound great. It must be small, nimble and responsive. … which again means lightweight coupled with high power.

      Finally, it needs to be reasonably comfortable to drive and enjoy.”

      When I read Adrian’s description, I smiled in agreement.

      Everybody has their preference for vehicles. Do you just want to go from point A to point B and back? Or do you want to have fun while doing it?

      • Jos Oskam says:

        My 1965 Mustang GT convertible checks all Adrian’s boxes. For me, that is. Which goes to show that appreciation for a car is highly personal.

        (And probably that I am an old geezer who has completely lost contact with modern times :-)

        • El Katz says:

          Cracks me up that someone would even want a motorcycle that goes 180 MPH in 9 seconds. Where in the world could you ride such a thing other than on a track? With road quality being what it is, only a fool would attempt it elsewhere…. unless they had either a death wish or a need to satisfy their oversized ego and garner bragging rights.

          Reminds me of these knuckleheads in Scottsdale that “aim” their Lambos and Ferrari’s to the grocery store. Oooh! Look at me! But without the technology, they’d wrap it around the first light pole they encountered.

        • Prairie Rider says:

          El Katz,

          In the three summers I’ve ridden my Tuono, I have only let it loose to experience some of its full acceleration potential once, and even then, it was just “a partial.” The time and place was perfect. But, yes, by the nine seconds it took me to hit 120 mph, that was the time to slow it back down. Brainerd (Minnesota) International Raceway is a good place near me to use my Tuono or M4 to the limit, but I don’t feel the need for a track day ride or drive.

          The thing is, my bike can deliver anything I ask from it, and there are certain places, in the right conditions, where I do use some of its ability. It feels great to exit a cloverleaf in second gear leaned over @ 45 degrees and twist back the throttle before a quick shift up to third. The adrenaline rush is a nice, but short-duration high.

          My other bike is a 2002 Kawasaki ZRX 1200; an older sport-style “muscle bike,” which I used to adore riding. However, there’s no comparison to the two for performance, safety and pleasure. I haven’t ridden it in two years.

          Believe it or not, I’m a safe and courteous rider and driver.

          “The secret to a long life is you try not to shorten it.” -Terrance Hill as Nobody, in the film, ‘My Name is Nobody.’

        • El Katz says:

          So what you’re saying is that your crotch rocket is about as practical as bringing snow ski’s to the beach or using an alcohol burning dragster to go to the mall.

          If we’re bragging, any one of my 3 – M3’s brings a smile to anyone’s face and the E30 has the capacity to teach one how to drive for real – not aiming some motorized computer-on-wheels that does the bulk of the thinking for you. The E46 is the newest of the lot as I prefer not to get into the complexity and sacrifices associated with turbochargers. Every one of them is civil enough for daily driving and simple enough (for the most part) to home wrench and replacement parts remain plentiful and relatively affordable. They’re even mostly made out of metal unlike the M4 – with its mass quantities of plastic engine components and the accompanying limited life expectancy.

          Back on topic: Turbochargers are one of the main contributors to the growth in new vehicle horsepower ratings but usually sacrifice torque. That’s how the MPG’s have increased as well as the horsepower… smaller displacement with boost. But few people know to maintain the turbos and then are *shocked* when they grenade.

        • Prairie Rider says:

          El Katz,

          My motorbike is indeed very practical. The RSV4 is the crotch rocket(MotoGP superbike); the Tuono is the ‘Hyper-naked’ version. Slightly different ergonomics. Most of my rides are with a backpack to get groceries or run errands.

          For what it’s worth, the best man at my wedding has a modified 1989 M3, which he loves. It’s smaller and quicker handling than my 2016 M4. In comparison, my ride is more of a Grand Touring machine, and I really enjoy it.

          My friend also was the race engineer for the BMW Team at Rahal Letterman Racing from 2008 through 2013, and worked in Munich at BMW Motorsport. They were AMLS GT Champions in 2010 & 2011. I bought my M4 based on his advice.

          Happy motoring to you, and I would enjoy seeing your vehicle stable, I am sure, El Katz.

          P.S. The computers on my motorbike and car increase their performance and safety IMO.

        • Double Bluff says:

          Mine was a 1964 1/2 GT. 289, 260 hp, 4 on the floor, 4 barrel carb, dual exhaust, solid lifters. No clue what a solid lifter is but it sounded impressive.

        • Jos Oskam says:

          @Double bluff
          Just like mine!
          And solid lifter means the valve play is not automatically compensated for by hydraulic trickery like in a standard 289 but you have to check valve play yourself now and then.

        • NBay says:

          Nice “Extreme Look at me” discussion.

          BTW, excellent automotive graphs that show “look at me” still works in the USA.

          What a waste, especially since you are old farts that didn’t push things to the limit and pay for it in broken bones and near death experiences, plus bloody knuckles from doing your own wrenching, back when you were young enough to have the strength and reaction times and actually competed with equals.

          Other directed old farts disgust me, that’s for kids still searching or trying to prove their own abilities in something other than piling up money and then buying their image…..or think they are.

          At least Jay Leno can make a TV show out of it, and even Wolf still pushes edges….and not with old ladies going to the Safeway.

        • NBay says:

          “Prairie Rider” handle has a nice new “sorta macho” ring to it, too.

          Don’t mind me, I’m just envious because I’m an old economic loser.

        • NBay says:

          Staying on topic, I too, wonder how long the Turbos will last THIS time.

        • Prairie Rider says:


          We have only so much time processing oxygen here on Planet Earth. Now that I’m on my seventh decade, and retired, I try to enjoy the time remaining.

          Going fast has always been my thing, and the most spiritual zen I get out of living each day is riding my bicycle as fast and smoothly as possible. Father Time is closing in on me, and everyone else too.

          Never did what you did though, and jump out of a perfectly good airplane. But it feels good to be alive and moving, no?

          Take care, and all the best to you.

        • NBay says:

          Awww…see….now you went and made me feel like a meany.

          I still meant what I said.

      • bulfinch says:

        When it comes to beauty — lux interiors aside — it’s primarily all the random rubberneckers who derive the most joy from watching your car whiz by. And if its vintage, prepare for interminable variants of the following for the duration of your ownership: ‘what year? what size engine? is that a true 138 SS? my dad owned one!” etc., etc.

        Meanwhile, you get to deal with all the expense and hassle of owning a beautiful/PITA automobile.

        Beauty = pain. Always.

        • joedidee says:

          I love my 2016 F350 – lifted, platinum, engine breaking
          Pulls and STOPS like dream for my 40′ 16,000lb 5th wheel

          mileage – NOT VERY GOOD thanks to GOVT
          use DEF, get your mileage knocked in 1/2 or MORE
          so 11mpg it is

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Joedi- I’m sure it’s the GD autocorrect, but I sincerely hope it’s ‘engine braking’ rather than ‘breaking’ – an important distinction!

          may we all find a better day.

        • NBay says:

          At least didi mau is just trolling to try to piss people off….the others…sheesh….glad I now have a choice in when and who to put up with among my relatives like that…and sister does most of that for me.

      • SomethingStinks says:

        Used to work with a fella back in Texas. This guy used to be a paramedic for the city of Dallas. Whenever a motorcycle passed him, he used to say “There goes an organ donor”.

    • rojogrande says:

      Absolutely agree. My first car was a 1973 Datsun 1200 with 67 hp. Now my 16 year old son scoffs at anything with less than 200 hp.

  2. J.M. Keynes says:

    – But being more fuel efficient also means more complicated, heavier and costlier engines. And that also means that roads are getting damaged at a faster rate ==> higher costs for maintenance of roads ==> higher tax burden.
    – Keep in mind: the economy is always and has been a ZERO sum game.

    • Nick Kelly says:

      Damage to roads from vehicle weight varies as the cube of the weight, thus virtually all is done by overloaded semis. They don’t want you to pull in your F 150 at the weigh scale because it does no more damage than a Mini. At least none worth weighing.

  3. 2banana says:

    Not really trying all that hard…

    “The world produces plenty of small and tiny vehicles, and some are available in the US, but their sales are just a flyspeck – no matter how hard automakers are trying – compared to the big equipment.”

    • Wolf Richter says:

      We tried back in the day, advertised them at $4,999. We sold maybe 1 or 2 a month, compared to 150 pickups. People would walk over to our used car lot and see what they could get for $5,000, and it would be a nice big car that was a few years old, and that’s what they bought, instead of a new 50 mpg Festiva with crank windows, manual door locks, and no A/C.

      • Eric says:

        Relieved I bought my subcompact, before Honda and Toyota stopped selling them in America. Hope it survives another decade. Wonder if economic reality will ever return to America.

      • Eric Patton says:

        Did you have any tiny cheap cars with A/C? I mean, yeah, everyone wants something ginormous to drive. But I’d be interested to know if tiny+A/C sold any better.

        • El Katz says:

          Did tiny + A/C sell any better? No. When the compressor kicked on they usually were slower than a herd of turtles. When you hit the accelerator hard, the A/C compressor switched off, making for a fairly inconsistent climate control.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          A/C was a dealer add-on back then. In other words, Ford sold a separate A/C kit that the dealer could install. I forgot the price, maybe $800. This was in Oklahoma, so much needed. But then back in the mid-1970s, I had a 68 Mustang without A/C in Texas. Just roll down the window. Worked fine.

        • El Katz says:

          Ah.. the old “4-60” air conditioner (4 windows down at 60 MPH)

        • Cashboy says:

          I remember having a company Peugeot diesel with air conditioning in the 90’s and I used to have to switch the air conditioning off when I wanted to get the power to overtake another car.

        • bulfinch says:

          Vent windows worked great; plus, wasn’t there a port you could open down on the firewall to let in airflow?

        • Ed C says:

          I still turn the A/C off climbing long mountain grades in the heat of the summer here in Arizona. That’s in my SUV, not 18 wheeler. Old habits die hard.

      • Up North says:

        I drove the Mazda the Festiva was based off. Great car, surprisingly roomy for such a small shell. Stick handled quite well. But those were only good for students imho… But I could not have seen grown ups back then wanting such a box…

        • Up North says:

          One more thing: you wouldn’t want to get an Accident in any if the smaller cars… That’s the issue with so many big cars and trucks on the road. You kinda need some kinetic insurance… We’re not buying anything small any time soon for that reason.

        • Lune says:

          This is actually a myth, promoted by car makers (who would rather sell you profitable bigger cars).

          In accident data, looking at big car/SUV vs small car crashes, the only type of accident where occupants of the small car had a higher death rate was in a direct, head-on collision at high speed. These are actually one of the rarest types of accidents (you’d essentially have to cross a median or other highway barrier to do it). In every other type of accident, including far more common stuff like t-bone accidents in intersections, side swipes, rear-ending, etc. the smaller car is safer.

          Why is that? For several reasons.

          First, small cars tend to have more safety equipment than truck and truck-based SUVs. Part of the reason pickup trucks are so profitable is because federal safety regulations are much more lax for trucks (Which are assumed to be intended for commercial purposes). So building an SUV on a truck platform means you can avoid a lot of the safety regulations.

          Second, large SUVs/trucks, due to having a higher center of gravity, have a much higher chance of flipping over. Your rate of serious injury and death increases massively when your car flips over.

          Third, smaller cars tend to have shorter braking distances and better handling, which means your ability to *avoid* the accident in the first place (or significantly reduce the energy of the collision due to the better braking) is much higher in a small car.

          Taken all together, your chance of injury in a large truck/SUV is significantly higher than in a small car, despite what “common sense” might tell you about riding high in the civilian equivalent of a tank. This is such a big effect that when trucks and SUVs became popular, the trend of declining auto accidents actually reversed due to the much higher injury and death rates from those vehicles overwhelming the usual incremental improvements in safety technology we usually see every year. (Of course now, even that is being swamped by the rise of distracted driving with everyone on their phones).

          Bottomline, don’t believe the automakers when it comes to safety. They’ll tell you anything you want to get you to buy their most profitable vehicles. The safety data is clear that a small or regular-size car (or if you must, an SUV built off a car platform, since those are regulated like cars), with good crash ratings, is significantly safer than a large truck-based vehicle.

        • El Katz says:

          Full head on collisions, maybe. But offset collisions are more dangerous and more likely to occur. If the A-pillar enters the passenger compartment when the passenger compartment deforms, the driver (or passenger) is toast – airbag or no. Saw this first hand with both crash test dummies and live when a guy rear ended a school bus with a VW Atlas. The A-pillar busted his skull.

          Doors are the weakest part of the vehicle. If a vehicle gets hit square in the doors with sufficient force, they intrude on the passenger compartment.

          Automakers would be foolish to say that their small cars are not as safe as the large. That would open them up to liability claims. Modern engineering and materials have changed that paradigm. A small Honda Fit is a better car in an accident than a Pinto of yore. Just look at the crash ratings from NHTSA and IIHS. 5-stars is 5 stars. A dealer / sales person might but that’s just sales BS.

          A friend had a last generation Accord Coupe and tangled with a semi on the interstate. He survived – most of his injuries were to his extremities from bracing himself.

      • Ted T. says:

        With EV pickup’s weighing in at 7,000 lbs. you would need to have a death wish to drive a Festiva today.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          EV: The 4×4 4-door 600 hp F-150 Lightning Platinum weighs 6,855 pounds

          ICE: 4X4 4-door F-series with diesel (closest to the hp and torque of the Lightning, but not nearly close enough) weighs 7,500 pounds. But it doesn’t have 600 hp, and not nearly the torque.

          Powerful trucks are heavy, dude. So what’s your problem?

  4. Old school says:

    All that HP has to get transmitted to the road by small tire patches. I can get about 100,000 miles out of a set of Michellins because I am interested in the physics of automobiles. You can find some general wear curves on line for speed and for tire pressure. Speed and low tire pressure are your enemies for long life, but it depends on what you are doing with the car and road conditions.

    Anyone know why wheels on cars keep getting bigger. When I started driving the standard was 14″. My brothers Tahoe has 22″ wheels. Even 3 series BMW wheel size is pretty large now and they are low to the ground vehicles.

    • California Bob says:

      re: “Anyone know why wheels on cars keep getting bigger.”

      Appearances, mostly (same reason pompadours and beehive hairdos were once popular). Bigger, heavier wheels increase unsprung weight and cripple performance and handling–although they do allow for larger brakes–and low profile/smaller sidewall tires contribute to wheel and tire damage. F1 just recently went from 13″ wheels to 18″ wheels, still much smaller diameter than ‘donks.’

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Old school,

      A larger wheel allows you to have a larger tire with a low aspect ratio (better handling, less heat-buildup in the tire).

      A larger wheel allows you to install bigger disk brakes, and that’s a biggie.

      A larger tire diameter gives the vehicle more ground clearance (ground to drive and suspension components).

      Modern alloy wheels are amazingly light to reduce the issues of the unsprung mass. A tire with a low aspect ratio is also lighter.

      • California Bob says:

        “Modern alloy wheels are amazingly light to reduce the issues of the unsprung mass.”

        I don’t have data handy, but I’d bet money that a 16″ wheel is lighter than a 22″ wheel if both are made from the same material and construction style (# of spokes, etc.).

        Low profile tires offer better handling on perfectly flat and smooth roads; how many of our roads are perfectly flat and smooth? Jeepers will tell you a taller tire has a larger contact patch than a wider one.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Yes, but I didn’t say this as reason to use larger wheels, but to say that larger wheels no longer pose a problem in terms of unsprung mass.

        • California Bob says:

          Since often-as-not I see humongous donks on huge SUVs–Expeditions, Suburbans, Escalades, etc.–I doubt the owners of these monstrosities are interested much in performance and handling anyway. Since they’re basically huge shoeboxes on wheels I guess they need something to distinguish them.

      • Cashboy says:

        “A larger wheel allows you to have a larger tire with a low aspect ratio (better handling, less heat-buildup in the tire).”

        Better handling but more tyre wear so less life out of your tyres.
        Also a harder, more uncomfortable ride.

      • Halibut says:

        These giant wheels with low profile tires are terrible in many parts of the country. If your roads are not smooth as glass, you can count on flats/damage. And, most of these vehicles no longer have a spare (of any kind).

        If you have freeze/thaw cycles, you have cracks and potholes. So, you need smaller wheels, beefier tires and a full size spare.

        This whole discussion just changes dramatically depending on where you live.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Old & Cal – I put it down to several decades of kids playing with Mattel’s very popular ‘Hot Wheels’ and their many imitators – huge rims and tires when compared to closer-to-actual scale offerings like the older Lesney ‘Matchbox’ vehicles…

      (…a constant with newer vehicles in our rural, dirt-road NorCal neighborhood is ride-quality complaints, imho due in no small part to the ongoing decrease in sidewall diameters…).

      may we all find a better day.

      • eg says:

        When the time came to replace the tires on my 300C I “downsized” from the 20s to 18s with the bigger sidewall because I didn’t enjoy how rough the summer ride was compared to my snows.

        • El Katz says:

          There’s also the increased wear on the suspension parts. Big wheels with low profile tires eat up control arm bushings like candy.

          As far as switching tires, ride quality suffers with many OEM tires as the tires are matched more for fuel economy than performance in most vehicles. Manufacturers are also price sensitive and will install puke tires. I changed out a set of Conti’s to Michelins on the technomobile and the ride quality improved dramatically while maintaining the same wheel and tire size.

        • David H says:

          I did the same. VW SEL wheels (18″) swapped for SE wheels (17″) when the tires were toast. Ride quality MUCH better, especially on the trails. Only cost me 800 bucks WITH the factory tires that were still on the SE wheels, only 7k mi on them.

        • Marc D. says:

          In addition to ride quality degrading, bigger wheels also make your acceleration a little slower and your fuel economy worse – because they’re heavier. Car and Driver did an acceleration comparison about 10-12 years ago for different wheel sizes on the same car, and found the 0-60 time was fastest on the smallest wheels and slowest on the biggest.

        • Marc D. says:

          Wolf, I was referring to the wheels only. Notice the wheels are relatively small compared to the tires on that dragster.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          …gotta love the VW sticker on the wing with something looking very much like a KB tucked in the engine bay…

          may we all find a better day.

        • NBay says:

          That’s a weird dragster choice, Wolf, appears to have a tuned exhaust and possibly a turbo… idea what class it’s in….some kind of gasser?

          Just noticed it says. “Turbo”…. and anyway, not dripping raw fuel.

          But those tires usually ripple at start and then get taller and “gear up” as tire speed increases and less traction needed…..point still taken.

        • NBay says:

          Maybe some new kind of “economy class”?

          Just hoping….every little bit helps.

          FWIW; I saw Don Garlits turn 180+ and low 8 sec (IIRC) in 61 or so at Riverside…decent for those times. Have (sister has) lotsa pics I took, pit pass was cheap then.

          Also some of old man’s pics at Muroc pre-war….Roof Conversion…..anyone?

  5. Stanny1 says:

    Personal pickups are 10% of the market but are 30% of the fuel consumption. Very heavy and most are occupied by one person. Very inefficient.

  6. DawnsEarlyLight says:

    Poor Minivan, looks like it got caught up in the cross-current of consumer reality.

    • El Katz says:

      The minivan had the misfortune of the soccer mom scourge and few men would be caught dead driving one. In response, manufacturers put a hood and normal rear doors on it and called it a crossover. Many crossovers are built on minivan pans with the same drivetrain (if 2 wheel drive) as their minivan cousins.

  7. Halibut says:

    I drive a GX460 dinosaur. Naturally aspirated V8, body on frame, full time 4×4. Prolly 10mpg.

    God help me, but I love it so.

  8. Frank says:

    I’m wondering about the larger trends in regards to the supply of automobiles. New sales for the past two years are depressed due to supply constraints. So there are a whole lot of cars that would have been on the road but are not, yet usage continues, the used cars get ever more mileage on them and a steady stream of cars get taken out of the market permanently. So are we headed for a vehicle shortage or has the overall demand for vehicles gone down?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      This means that there is lots of pent-up demand for years to come.

      • JayW says:

        YEARS TO COME? REALLY? That’s highly debatable.

        Auto manufacturers have figured out that constrained supply is great for their final sales price. Also, there’s a coming intersection of ever-increasing high prices of new cars, especially EV’s, and household debt that will make new car purchases for many people impossible.

        As new car demand continues to crater, used car prices will turn from their current wanning cycle into higher demand, leading to higher prices.

        And GM & Ford will be hit especially hard as they no longer sell affordable sedans, smaller vehicles or hybrids like the Prius, all of which are much more affordable than EV’s.

        In about 5 years, solid state batteries will begin to go mainstream, leading to higher batter pack prices initially. Meeting demand for lithium & other rare earth metals will ensure battery prices do not fall according to any current predicted rate.

        In about 5 years, this rapid move to EVs in certain states like CA, NV, AZ, etc may put such excessive strain on the electrical grid that manufacturers are told they have to pivot back to ICE’s for a period of time. No one really knows how the shift to EVs is going to affect the grid as we grapple with meeting climate goals.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “Auto manufacturers have figured out that constrained supply is great for their final sales price.”

          That is just dumb. Everyone has known since forever that constrained supply increases prices. But in a competitive environment, if I don’t have the truck, someone else who has a truck is going to take that sale away from me forever. And might also take a loyal customer away from me. No automaker wants THEIR product to be constrained — though Ford loves it when it has ample product but Toyota’s product is constrained because the then Ford can sell more, and Toyota sells less hahahaha.

  9. BSini says:

    Saw my first Lexus LX 600 in a parking lot today. Much improved mpg for Toyota. I tried to purchase one for 6 months into sept 2022 and gave up. Looks like a few have arrived nationwide. One of the heaviest truck suv but not fast .

  10. Al Loco says:

    It’s interesting to see how automakers lightened vehicles in the 1980s and had a positive effect on MPG. Advancements in engine technology stalled for over a decade so I assume they had no choice.

    I don’t really understand the comment above on how fuel efficient engines are more complicated therefore heavier. Cylinder deactivation has been a help with MPG gains and typically only adds an oil galley solenoid to control the system. If you ever worked on an 80’s S-box with giant cats, egr systems, air pumps, and miles a vacuum tubing you would appreciate most vehicles made after 2000. Software has been the most significant contribution and it weighs nothing.

    • Ted T. says:

      Multi-valve overhead cams, turbo chargers, superchargers, direct fuel injection, eight, nine and ten speed transmissions, twin disk transmissions, the list goes on.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Al – indeed, electronic engine management and fi seriously changed the game for ICE’s and allowed the advent of hybrids.

      (‘Lost Art’ side work for me in my dotage now often involves cleaning/refurbing/rejetting the carbs on now-‘vintage’ motos so equipped…).

      may we all find a better day.

      • NBay says:


        Just popped in my old brain thinking about bikes of my youth.

        First one, Ducati 125 Bronco. $400 with tax…lot’s of firewood cut.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Greetings, NBay! Only Dell’orto’s I’ve touched lately have been the newer, round-body+pump PHF32’s on my ’82 Jota renovation. Most of the time it’s Keihin or Mikuni racks off of pre-fi UJM’s.

          Your comment above re: Wolf’s snap of the turbo rail has piqued my interest enough to research it’s class. More (maybe) to follow. Looking again, wondering if it really is a V8, or a canted-over dohc4?

          Had to have been incredibly cool to see ‘Big Daddy Don’ run at the lakes. Can hardly believe i’m old enough to remember wondering if the 7-second ‘barrier’ would ever be broken by non-jet dragsters (in the 3’s, now, I understand).

          Best to you, and…
          may we all find a better day

          (sorry for the long digression, Wolf, and understand if this vanishes…).

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          NBay – my lazy thumb deleted “…Riverside and have pix of your dad on…”. Best.

          may we all find a better day.

  11. Michael Engel says:

    These cars are built for zero interest rates. With EFFR at 5% they might
    become zombie cars.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      A small comment ME but I see the point being very important. The American consumer and our industrial suppliers may have to adapt to a new environment where digressionary spending and long-term investments may need to be adjusted.

  12. Richard Greene says:

    EVs reached 6.1% of US auto sales in Q3 2022.
    That is an important rend not mentioned

    Also, the 49mpg EPA CAFE for 2026 model will significantly force increased sales of EVs that cost much more than comparable ICE vehicles.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Just above the second chart:

      For the 2022 model year, over 7% of all vehicles are EVs, according to estimates in the report,

      • Lune says:

        Do you think we’ve finally hit the rapid upslope part of the S-curve on EV adoption?

        I’m actually surprised it’s already at 7%, but from talking to friends looking at cars, people now seem to at least consider an EV as an option, rather than it being something only tree-hugging granola munching freaks would buy :-) I wonder if EVs are now getting normalized, if everyone has at least a few friends or family that have one, and if that’s the case, I bet adoption starts going through the roof.

        The silver lining in the auto shortages for the past 2 years might be that it gave time for EV models to be released, so that when all the delayed purchased finally start happening, a lot more EVs will be sold than would have if the demand was filled earlier.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The problem with EVs now is that demand exceeds supply bar far. There are long waiting lists for the recent crop of non-Tesla EVs in the US, and they’re trying to ramp up production, but supply chains aren’t ready, and factories aren’t ready, and labor isn’t ready … they’re 10 years behind Tesla. Ford for example is now trying to get a third shift going at its Lightning plant late next year (!) so that they can build 150,000 a year, but all this takes forever and costs many billions of dollars.

          GM is two years behind Ford. GM is still making announcements about what they’re going to have in 2024 and 2025…

  13. Logan Kane says:

    Awesome article! It seems cars have gotten much better over the years, albeit more expensive.

  14. Michael Engel says:

    Wolf charts are the best : faster, more powerful, bigger, heavier, glitzier…
    only one parameter is missing : the inverse interest rates since 1980’s.
    Rising interest might purge the rotting, buybacks, car industry and liquidate some.
    The high cost of cars will come down, back to value, so people can drive to work and have a more moral life.

    • Up North says:

      A more moral life? Getting religious Engel?

      • Michael Engel says:

        Quoting Andrew Mellon

        • NBay says:

          Just happened to see a documentary on Presidents. A. Mellon was financial advisor (forget title, but responsible for watching US economy) in Hoover’s cabinet, but as 3rd richest guy in the country was not personally worried and selfishly ignorant and/or totally oblivious to the factors shaping up that would cause the Great Depression, even though he OBVIOUSLY understood economics. Not doing one’s sworn duty to the people to best of ability when in high office IS immoral. Nobody forced job on him.

          Point: ME is not as off the wall or ignorant as most people here might think. He’s just totally unafraid to use Joycian train of thought and then worry about what others here think.

  15. Einhal says:

    Only 7.1%! Looks like inflation is conquered, happy days here again!


    • Sean Shasta says:

      More rate hikes and for longer, as Powell said last month.

      Market is way too optimistic and there is way too much money sloshing around still.

    • ru82 says:

      I was thinking that we would see a drop this week. Janet Yellen was pretty dovish on 60 minutes this past Sunday saying inflation was dropping will continue dropping over the next year.

      • Einhal says:

        Janet Yellen, in her current position, is a politician, not an economist. She is going to say what’s good for her boss, not what’s reality.

        This is leaving aside the fact that she’s a bumbling fool who has been wrong more times than I can count.

        • NBay says:

          Yeah, not like poor old Munchkin. Loved that pic of him with new trophy wife and sheet of brand new money…..a real “People’s man”….right?

        • NBay says:

          And not just your average trophy wife……he has enough “hard earned” money to buy a damned Actress.
          Oh well, more action for his poor gardeners or pool man.

      • Wolf Richter says:

        Yellen told Congress in early 2021 that CPI would be back at 2.9% in late 2021. Which was ridiculous. She got ripped apart for that. She always says this stuff. All the time. She is trying to talk down inflation expectations — and she has some success with the expectations part. But inflation itself will do its own thing and will not listen to Yellen.

  16. Mattmus says:

    If you watch the auto ads on TV, they inevitably show their speedy new fuel-efficient products barrelling down a city street at 150mph. Great fun until some stupid pedestrian gets in the way.

    • Philthy says:

      Pedestrian fatalities hit a new high record in my state this year.

      • CreditGB says:

        All the gotta have “cool stuff” in today’s interiors are major distractions, plus the omnipresent cell phones. Is it any wonder more pedestrians are being mowed down by distracted drivers? Hey, perhaps there is a similarity between marketing of cell phones and vehicles after all.

        Can’t wait to get the latest IPhone with the magic photo image erase feature!! Wow, I’ve been waiting all my life for that. Combine that with the hands off self driving vehicle, now I can keep texting and photo bombing all my millions of FaceBook friends and followers!!

  17. CreditGB says:

    Wonder what the average person’s personal vehicle driving mileage is in EU vs North America? Could that impact vehicle buying habits?

    US is about 3.8 million square miles.
    EU is about 1.7 million square miles.
    US and Canada about 7.6 million square miles.

    As I travel my state which is larger that N Korea, and larger than Greece but not among the largest US states, I need reliable, load capable, and comfortable (in that order) transportation that I can use when I need it for as long as I need it. Impromptu round trips of 500 miles happen on a regular basis. I gotta be there when I gotta be there with all the stuff I have to carry with.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      …fun human geography fact: San Bernardino County in California is larger than Rhode Island…

      may we all find a better day.

    • NBay says:

      No airplane? Not even a cheapo 152?

      BTW; When I quit jumping I put in about 20 hrs of solo in one…$22/hr wet..thought I’d see what landing in one was like…it’s the hardest part….any moron can take off first time.

  18. Seneca's Cliff says:

    One of the most important ( and not technologically finicky) things for fuel economy at highway speeds is aerodynamics. This has been thrown out the window with most pickups and SUV’s which have only gotten taller, wider and flatter over the years. My 93 sedan has a lower Cd ( coefficient of drag) than 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today. With todays technology we should be way ahead of that now, but most people drive around in the aerodynamic equivalent of refrigerator boxes on wheels with turbocharged 4 cylinders and 10 speed transmissions trying to make up for bad engineering.

    • Marc D. says:

      Cars themselves have gotten pretty aerodynamic nowadays. The problem is, not many people are buying cars anymore. They’re buying huge SUVs and pickup trucks that aren’t very aerodynamic, instead.

    • NBay says:

      Nothing a 55 or 50mph speed limit wouldn’t cure.

      Proven to reduce accidents, too, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  19. Z33 says:

    Wolf, what percent of the drop in gasoline demand (7% down vs same week last year) over the past 12 months do you think is in part related to increased MPG in cars and number of new EVs vs actual drop in demand adjusted for that? WFH probably didn’t play much a part in last 12 months I’d think, but your article on cars now has me wondering.

    • ru82 says:

      I cannot comment on last week but Sep 2022 total vehicle miles driven was a tad higher than in 2021. From ycharts, it looks like the number of miles driven has been flat the past few years.

      I did read that airline travel and hotel prices dipped a bit because of less demand but it is winter for what it is worth.

      So I would say better MPH.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Yes, there are a lot of factors coming together, and the increasing fuel efficiency is one of them. Working from home takes some demand off the table. But then there is this refusal by lots of people who used to commute by mass transit to do so now; they’re driving. I see this in the ridership data. So this creates demand for gasoline. People not driving to the mall but having a route driver drop off the online order likely cuts fuel consumption because one van going to 30 houses burns less fuel than 30 vehicles driving from mall to mall. EVs are bigger part of the active fleet. Households prioritize their most fuel-efficient vehicle….

      A 7% drop from one year to the next is caused by a lot of things — but some things are working against.

      It may very well be that the peak consumption of gasoline before the pandemic, which was barely higher than in 2007, will never be met again as EVs are becoming a larger part of the active fleet, and as vehicles get more efficient.

      • Prairie Rider says:

        Ridership on the Twin Cities’ two light rail lines is down considerably since before the pandemic hit in March 2020. It came back a small amount this summer, but the trains are mostly empty. One line connects downtown Minneapolis with downtown St. Paul. The original line connects Minneapolis to the MSP airport and the Mall of America. That line has a station that is a six minute walk to the west of my home. In the past, I have used it, but have no need to these days. It’s a positive thing to have IMO.

        A third line now being built has been bogged down with cost over-runs and disputes of how and where it should ultimately be constructed. It will connect Minneapolis through the southwest suburbs and go to Eden Prairie. Distance is 14.5 miles and projected to cost $2.7 billion. The project is currently falling short by $450 to $550 million. Yesterday, it was proposed by The Metropolitan Council (an unelected board of appointees representing the 5 counties of the metro region) and Hennepin County, that they will kick in an additional $211 million, “but more will be needed.”

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Prairie – BART out here in the Bay Area has recently announced they are actively planning for ridership collapse going forward…could be hard times coming for most metro systems in the U.S. …

          may we all find a better day.

  20. Nick Kelly says:

    Re: on ten speed auto trans being an improvement, enter is ‘ten speed auto trans reliable’ and read on. Class action suit on Fords F 150 10 speed trans.

  21. Trucker Guy says:

    I’ve got to say, if there is one thing about America and Americans that I hate it is the consumer culture and the junk they buy.

    There isn’t a single vehicle being produced today that I would buy new.

    If I wanted a new truck, it would have to have a medium sized inline 6 diesel. Preferably not turbo charged. A 5 or 6 speed manual transmission. Manual doors/windows etc. 8 foot bed. Preferably dually option for 1 ton trim. Enough wheel clearance to run chains up front and back. 4×4, preferably with e locker options up front and rear that are actually usable and not 5 mph limited, 4w lo only garbage. Manual 4wd shifter. Manual hubs. Smaller foot print than what is currently out there, I don’t what to load a bed that is 4 foot off the ground stock and the bed rails are up to my chin. And also not fall apart in 100k miles.

    There hasn’t been a new pickup to fit that bill in nearly 20 years. Instead every pickup is more comparable to a Cadillac with every luxury feature, a pissly 4 foot bed, and 4 captains chair seats and not a scratch on it. Even if you want a small utility truck like the old d21 Nissans, you’re screwed. A modern Tacoma has a bigger foot print than a 1 ton from the 70s.

    The same with smart phones. The rest of the world has a ton of great options for good, sensible phones but the US has hot garbage. Try and find a 200-300 dollar phone that is decent quality, has SD card slot, headphone jack, decent hardware, and a fingerprint scanner that actually works. There are maybe 2. I’m especially enraged by the deletion of the headphone jack. I swear apple could shit on a platter and throw it into the crowd at a press release and every tech company would be falling over themselves to do the exact same thing.

    The American consumer reminds me of the homer mobile from the Simpsons.

  22. Khowdung Flunghi says:

    “I’ve got to say, if there is one thing about America and Americans that I hate it is the consumer culture and the junk they buy.”

    Merchandising! Merchandising! The search for more money…

  23. bulfinch says:

    “There isn’t a single vehicle being produced today that I would buy new.”

    Oh, I don’t know…the Hellcat was fun

  24. Samantha's cousin says:

    I’m not playing the game. My manual Nissan Versa from 2014 does a wonderful job. At almost 100K miles it’s still going great. Gets almost 35 MPG. It’s quiet, reliable, easy to clean.
    I had a 1989 Ford Escort Pony brand new. it had 4 miles on it when I got it. It was beige on beige with the only option being the automatic. Never had any problem with it. I think I paid $9K for it new.
    Had a new 1993 Honda Civic CX manual hatchback with AC. Paid $12K for it with 8 miles on it.
    Wish I had those back.
    I won’t be doing anything grossly over that. Don’t need it, won’t pay for it, won’t pollute the environment for anything large.

  25. just-a-boy says:

    Meanwhile the average age of vehicles on the road keeps going up.


  26. nemo300blkl says:

    And for some of us, the HP in the new trucks and SUVs isn’t enough. Two of my corporate vehicles have go-fast tuners on them: a 2021 Expedition and a 2022 Tundra. Both trucks will pin you into the seat leaving on a 4wd launch from a stop. The Tundra will break the rear tires loose at 25mph on dry pavement. Gotta love these easily and cheaply boosted twin turbo V-6s.

    If the OEMs want to charge this much money for these trucks and SUVs, they better get out of their own way, quickly.

Comments are closed.