Ever get nostalgic about the good old days? The days when you dressed up to go on a plane flight...when movie theaters had curtains and ushers showed you to your seat? Bobby socks? Spats? Pants pulled up to the waist? Auto fuel efficiency??? Well, my friend, as you pine for days gone by, consider this: the car you're driving today might just be as fuel efficient as those in the era of The Great Gatsby.
Fuel efficiency of vehicles on the road: Little progress since the 1920s
A new study in the journal Energy Policy by Michael Sivak and Omer Tsimhoni of the U-M Transportation Research Institute shows that overall fuel efficiency for vehicles in the United States was 14 miles per gallon in 1923 and 17.2 mpg in 2006.
The researchers documented and analyzed the annual changes in actual fuel efficiency of vehicles on U.S. roads from 1923 to 2006 by using information about distances driven and fuel consumed to calculate fuel efficiency of the overall fleet and of different classes of vehicles.
They found that overall fleet fuel efficiency actually decreased from 14 mpg in 1923 to a low of 11.9 mpg in 1973, but then rapidly increased to 16.9 mpg by 1991.
Little change in fuel efficiency and we lost the rumble seat? Some days I understand why we're bailing out the auto industry, some days I don't. Today I feel we should just let this dinosaur go extinct.