The Capacity for Fuel Economy Already Exists

According to James Hamilton’s post in Econbrowser, research done by U.C. Davis economics professor Christopher Knittel found that given today’s production techniques for cars, fuel efficiency can already be gained at an amount of 50%.   Most of this was a consequence of a rising correlation between a cars horsepower, torque and weight, all of which continued to increase while fuel economy remained around the same levels.  The fact that the capacity already exists to make fuel efficient cars puts the burden on car companies design teams and the consumers who would demand them.  Europe already forces certain fuel economy standards, while the U.S. does not.  The rise of eco-conscious consumers should help a little, but a jump in gas prices past a consistent $4.00 a gallon may help consumers start making decisions towards more fuel efficient cars when they see money begin drying up in their wallets.

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