MPG is the new HP

Author: WagonFan
December 23, 2008

I’ve been thinking about trading in my current vehicle lately. That’s nothing new – I’m one of those people that is never satisfied with their current vehicle. But that’s another post. The interesting thing is, I’ve been paying more attention to fuel economy than performance. That, my friends, is big news!

Previous to the gas being $4.99 a gallon, I had never cared about fuel economy. Remember, you’re looking at a guy who once drove a Ford Lighting, which was lucky to get 11 mpg combined! But suddenly, I started driving like I had an egg between my foot and the throttle. And now I’m researching cars like the 2009 Jetta TDI.

While that’s a big shift for me, I don’t think I’m alone. Fuel economy is definitely the new horsepower, both in consumers’ minds and in automakers’ marketing. As often happens in the world, something that initially seems bad (ginormous gas prices) has turned into a blessing in disguise.

Oil companies’ greed has turned around to bite them, creating a new world where the general public is actively looking to conserve fuel. While I would like to think that it was due to a desire to save the planet, we all know it was financially-driven. I’m fine with that, though – whatever works!

The next big step is for automakers to combine energy efficiency with performance, a la Tesla. For a while there, it seemed like the two were mutually exclusive (Mustang II, anyone?). Once the industry as a whole embraces the marriage of economy and fun, we will be all but done with gasoline. I have to admit, I will sorely miss the sound of a big V-8, though.

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