Here comes a hot take, folks.

A story fresh out of CAR magazine based in the UK has an interesting perspective. Essentially, the gist is that American consumer tastes are effectively what should be blamed for the automotive industry's lagging fuel economy standards.

Why, you ask? Well, that's simply because the folks from the red, white and blue prefer larger vehicles, which led to automakers not focusing on developing cleaner and more efficient engines. At least that's the thesis I am able to extract from this essay.

So, I've got to wonder: Is this piece off base or are American consumer tastes to BLAME for lagging fuel economy standards when you zoom out the timeline and look across 50 years?

...As with most upsizing trends – from human obesity to the volume of Coke cups – it started in the US, where the mass popularity of SUVs had a predictably dire effect on fuel economy. After a 60 per cent improvement in the average fuel economy of new cars sold in America from the mid ’70s to the early ’80s, the rate then stalled for the next 25 years. 

This was a quarter century of great technical advances in fuel efficiency, including the widespread adoption of four-valve engines, six-speed gearboxes, low-rolling-resistance tyres and improved aerodynamics. So why the lack of progress?

Americans fell in love with SUVs and pick-ups. In 1982, cars accounted for 80 per cent of the US market, and SUVs and pick-ups just 20 per cent. Twenty-five years later it was 50:50. The shift to bigger and thirstier vehicles ruined all the good work done by the car industry (who couldn’t have cared less: there’s more profit in SUVs). There has been some progress since. Yet, for 2016, the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks sold in America was still just over 20 per cent better than in 1982, despite growing sales of electric cars and hybrids...

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Are American's Taste In SUVS/Trucks To BLAME For Lacking Improvement In Fuel Economy Standards?

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