By on April 9, 2008

08_yaris_sedan21.jpgDow Jones Market Watch reports that tight credit, expensive gas and the economy in recession, four cylinder engines are becoming increasingly popular. Four-pot models now make up 37 percent of the U.S. market, up from 30 percent three years ago (when gas was last under $2/gal) Eight cylinder models fell from 28 percent to 18 percent over the same period. Tracing the development to purely economic factors, the report shows that hybrids do not yet offer enough savings to overcome their price premiums; hybrids only make up three percent of the market. "For now, the easiest, cheapest way for new-car shoppers to get better mileage is to choose a model with a conventional four-cylinder engine," says J.D. Power analyst Jason Rothkop. "And they are." The poster child for the four-banger revolution? The Toyotas Yaris. Sales of the four-pot economy car were up 83 percent in March. [For more info on last month's sales, check out Frank Williams' March By The Numbers.]

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44 Comments on “Four-Banger U.S. Market Share Rises to 37%...”


  • avatar

    If only GM had put as much effort into a US-engineered and built four cylinder car as they did the new CTS, Lambda crossovers and GMT900 trucks instead of importing the Korean Aveo, maybe they’d be sitting prettier. Or maybe not.

  • avatar
    jaje

    So I’d guess the 4 cylinder stats are only run on cylinder count and include all engines with direct injection, turbos, superchargers, hybrid drivetrains, boxer (H) configurations.

    So that’d leave the 2 other major engines 6 cylinder (v6 or inline 6 or boxer 6), v8 with small contingent of 3, 5, 10, 12 cylinder engines as the small amount. How were wankels classified too?

  • avatar

    tinyurl is your friend.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It still doesn’t pay for dealers to sell cheap 4 cylinder cars. If you got paid commission, which would you rather sell: a $700 markup Focus or a $3000 markup F150? and that’s before discounts….

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    Helping too is the fact that four bangers are now more powerful than some V6’s of the previous decade. The Nissan Altima and Honda Accord both have excellent four cylinder engines that offer plenty of performance even under a heavy load while remaining fuel efficient.

    The V6 is (sweet) excess.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    It’s 1981 all over again. History repeats itself…

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    “For now, the easiest, cheapest way for new-car shoppers to get better mileage is to choose a model with a conventional four-cylinder engine,” says J.D. Power analyst Jason Rothkop.

    Same thing I’ve always said and I’ve never had anyone show me any actual numbers that indicate otherwise. People who disagree either dismiss my calculations out of hand or at best quote some “expert” opinion, but never the calculations that the expert used to arrive at his conclusion that the premium on a Prius is recovered in 4, 5, 6, or however many number of years. I don’t know what people are comparing a Prius to, but it certainly isn’t any number of economical compact cars on the road today (e.g. Toyota Corolla).

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    How were wankels classified too?

    Zero cylinder?

    Seriously, I imagine the small number of Wankel rotary engines is less than the uncertainty in the accounting data for 4 cylinder engines.

  • avatar
    offroadinfrontier

    700 dollar markup is still a profit.. That aside, who said that all 4-cyls were subcompacts? I see plenty of new midsize sedans on the road with 4-cyls…

    mikeolan has the point. 4-cyls aren’t slow nowadays. While acceleration is a personal thing, as most would probably agree, it’s really hard to jump in any sized car with a respectable 4-cyl and call it slow, unless you are comparing to a sports car. Hell, 22 years ago, 160HP from a 3.0 was pretty damn good. Now the same size engine can, for a decent price, pump out 240+ HP.

    While I don’t call my xA fast by any means, I do have to say that it is perfectly adequate in any daily on-road situation (save from illegal racing). While it might only have 103HP, the true limiting factor is everyone ELSE driving so damn slow.

    Seriously, everyone should take a day to go test-drive a 4-cyl anything (midsized sedan, compact, subcompact, whatever your flavor) and then come back and truly say that it hindered your driving experience.

    While I would love to have a car with 300+hp, on the road, you need a power to weight ratio of about 1hp per 30lbs, which is exceeded by almost every car in the USA market by at least 8lbs.. Speed limits, excessive acceleration tickets, and “everyone else” on the road get in the way more than an underpowered engine… check your highly-desired/lusted over 0-60 time at the next stop light, behind at least one other car, especially a V8.

    The correlation between larger engines and slower acceleration is amazing, and not in a good way..

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Lumbergh21: Same thing I’ve always said and I’ve never had anyone show me any actual numbers that indicate otherwise. People who disagree either dismiss my calculations out of hand or at best quote some “expert” opinion, but never the calculations that the expert used to arrive at his conclusion that the premium on a Prius is recovered in 4, 5, 6, or however many number of years. I don’t know what people are comparing a Prius to, but it certainly isn’t any number of economical compact cars on the road today (e.g. Toyota Corolla).

    One can buy “cheaper” cars than the Prius. But it’s categorized as a mid-sized car by the EPA. And as such, it’s little or more expensive than say a Camry or Accord. I hear Priuses can be had for $19,999 or so, street price.

    Based on its reliability, low depreciation and economy, Consumer Reports has called it the most economical (mid-sized) car to own. And as gas gets more expensive…

  • avatar
    radimus

    I really cannot agree more, offroad.

    I had a 94 Geo Metro as a daily driver/commuter car for four years. It had the famous, or infamous, 3 cyl 1L 55HP engine that was mated to a three speed automatic. It kept up with traffic just fine and any deficiencies in acceleration, which were a lot less than one would think, were more than compensated for by better judgement and a little common sense. The only real problem was the lack of any interior noise management. After four years and 60k miles I just couldn’t take the racket anymore. But all that aside, it really changed my perspective on how much horsepower a car really needs.

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    mikeolan makes a good point. The 3.8L V6 in my 1993 Buick Regal is rated at 170hp, I believe. The 2008 Chevy Malibu with the 2.4L I4 is rated at 169hp. It’s not an amazing amount of power, but it’s sufficient, and now they can do it with smaller engines than before.

  • avatar

    “Hell, 22 years ago, 160HP from a 3.0 was pretty damn good.”

    10 years ago a V6 Taurus only had 145 hp.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I’d like to think this represents a total turnaround in the mindset of some portion of the American public – but alas, I suspect it’s only temporary. Much as it was in ’78 when Ford dealers sold every Fiesta they could get their hands on.

    I am sadly convinced that once gas prices stabilize, the SUV will be king again.

  • avatar

    @dwford :
    April 9th, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    It still doesn’t pay for dealers to sell cheap 4 cylinder cars. If you got paid commission, which would you rather sell: a $700 markup Focus or a $3000 markup F150? and that’s before discounts….

    Honda would probably want some advice in that respect. :-)
    What pays is making cars at a profit, and that don’t spend ages in lots hoping for buyers to bite.

    And this time it won’t be temporary – no reason to worry about that. There’s nothing around that can replace oil as a source of energy for automobiles, and the amount of oil around is falling. There’s a reason why WTI nudged above USD 111 today.

  • avatar

    4 cylinders are way ahead… the Subaru EJ engine outperforms most 6 cylinder engines and many old fashioned 8 cylinders.
    Ultimately it’s the performance per pound not the number of cylinders.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    To quote Dan Neil of the LA times “It’s more fun to go fast in a slow car than slow in a fast car.”

    My 1st car was a 1990 Subaru Legacy with the 135HP 2.2L 4cyl; It was more than enough power. I only wish Subaru would offer a smaller, more frugal engine in the base Legacy or Impreza.

  • avatar

    Lumbergh21, your right that it doesn’t pay to go out and buy a Prius brand new when you don’t need a new car and you weren’t going to buy a new car but somehow you get the crazy notion that buying one will pay for itself in gas savings,

    but

    your wrong if you are going to buy a new car no matter what right now and if your budget is approximately in the Prius range. In that case you save money.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    Perhaps N.American manufacturers will catch up someday (maybe not) but right now, its the European 4 bangers that are impressing me.

    The Audi 2.0T being one of them. 207lb-ft of torque at 1800rpm. 258lb-ft next year. All while delivering 25 miles per gallon (mixed). Add a ECU upgrade and you can get 252 horsepower with 303lb-ft of torque. All by chipping 2 litres of displacement.

    The lazy “no replacement for displacement” design mentality of much of the north american auto industry will have to change to keep up with the European and Japanese engineering.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Have you drive a FOUR lately?

    My how the little ole 4 cyl engine has come along in the last decade. If you have not driven a car with a good 4 cyl engine like an Accord or Camry you will be in for a rather nice surprise. These engines are wonderful for what they are VVT has changed everything!

    Even when equiped with a auto both the Camry and Accord perform extremely well with a 4 pot. Between the electronics in the tranny and the VVT the power is always on tap.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I saw a show on discovery where they had a challenge between a ferrari and the new corvette. The corvette won, barely, but the ferrari won all the handling challenges.

    The corvette guy bragged that there was no replacement for displacement. But from a design standpoint its not a very impressive win. The Ferrari has an engine HALF the size. It would be like a 6th grader bragging about beating a 3rd grade kid by 5 feet in a 100 meter dash.

    Sure he won, but should he be proud about it?

  • avatar
    Bancho

    I’m happier driving 4 cylinder vehicles. I feel as though I’m actually able to extract a large percentage of the performance I’m paying for on a more regular basis than I would if I drove a 6 or 8 cylinder vehicle. Traffic holds me up much more than any limitation of my vehicle’s displacement or number of cylinders.

    The 2.5l 4 cylinder in my Nissan Frontier really impresses me as well. It’s happy to chug along at low revs as much as I like but when I want to play it’ll happily rev to its’ limit without any thrashing (it actually sounds pretty happy).

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “It still doesn’t pay for dealers to sell cheap 4 cylinder cars.”

    I will be you a lot of money that in 2008 reality the average dealer profit on a Yaris or Fit is far larger than the profit on an F150!

    I recently did a 4,000 mile round trip in our TSX and it’s 4 cylinder engine was more than up to the task. Our speed averaged a bit over 75 MPH and fuel economy for the trip clocked in at just over 31 MPG. This was a western US trip, so plenty of mountain ranges were scaled. There was always plenty of power available, thought I did actually have the pedal floored for a few moments at a time while doing some upgrade passing at 75 MPH+. Ya gotta love the 80 MPH speed limits of west Texas.

    A modern high tech 4 cylinder can provide plenty of motive power when coupled to a reasonable weight vehicle.

    I suspect that we are also going to see an up-tick in turbocharger use like we did in the 1980s. Base 4 cylinder engines with a turbo offered as the performance upgrade will become more common.

  • avatar
    phil

    i have put about 19k miles on my 07 E63; average mileage 21.3. granted this is mostly freeway driving with the rpms strolling at around 2000 most of the time. i would guess that a Z06 or standard C6 might do even better. driving style is the big thing, and i’ll take the comfort and power of the Merc sedan over a tin can fartmobile anytime.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    jthorner :

    I wholeheartedly agree. Long live the 4cyl TSX, and I for one hope Acura resists the temptation to put a V6 in this car. Too bad for ’09 they had to “supersize” the TSX just like they did the ’08 Accord.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    phil:

    The E67 AMG has a displacement of 6.2 litres. The Vette has a displacement of 7 liters. I would not count on the Vette getting the same mileage…E36 gets about 14mpg city, the vette gets 16mpg.

    It could cheat by “turning off” half the cylinders when you’re cruising to get good mileage ratings like alot of yank cars do these days. Sorry, thats not good engine design…its a way to improve your engine mileage on paper without designing a better engine.

    The E63 is a gorgeous beast. But even the European supercars do spend the time to put some thought into effeciancy and design. Personally, I think there is no comparison to a Corvette.

    American Engineer 1: “The new AMG is pretty fast, what should we do to compete with its new power numbers?”
    American Engineer 2: “I dunno…make the engine bigger. People who buy these never look at the mileage anyways.”

    :)

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    anything over 100hp is ridiculous, regardless of what the manufacturers want to tell you. Unless u intend to carry your entire household with you, 1930’s depression style.

  • avatar
    carguy622

    I too own a TSX with that sweet 4 cylinder engine / 6 speed manual transmission combo. I find it more than adequate 99% of the time and get an average of 27 MPG in mixed driving and about 35 MPG on the highway. My previous car was a 2004 Accord V6, and while that was a great engine, the 4 cylinder in the TSX is just as smooth and has a more invigorating exhaust note at high rpm.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    I wish I had a European 2 litre. I have a 2006 Focus ZX5(bought while I was a student so go easy heh) and, while it handles well, the engine screams like a howler monkey when pushed…and does not really do anything after 4800rpm. The black tape on top of the engine keeping everything “neat and tidy” rather than a proper cover is a testament to how American car makers think and how much attention they put into the design of the engine. Even Honda thought to put a proper cover on the Fit’s powerplant. And it goes for 10 grand less than my ZX5 did in 2006.

    So cheap can still be built properly. To not do so is just lazy. And GM/FoMoCo wonder why their econo-cars constantly get beat in reviews.

    I wonder what other corners are cut if black tape was considered a viable option for an engine cover.

  • avatar
    DearS

    My 2865lb 168hp E30 BMW gets about around 20mpg in mix driving. Its lighter and more power full than my Moms 97′ Accord, yet the Accord gets better mileage and accelerates faster at least 50% of the time. Still the E30 is a much better car to me. Even my mom said she loved driving my car, though she’d never get such an old (piece of junk) car. We can’t always get what we want. I get worst acceleration and mileage, even though my car is more powerful, smoother, and lighter. Oh and lets not forget my gas mileage. Although If the mess with the slush box a little, its pretty peppy.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    I saw a show on discovery where they had a challenge between a ferrari and the new corvette. The corvette won, barely, but the ferrari won all the handling challenges.

    By how much?

    The corvette guy bragged that there was no replacement for displacement. But from a design standpoint its not a very impressive win. The Ferrari has an engine HALF the size. It would be like a 6th grader bragging about beating a 3rd grade kid by 5 feet in a 100 meter dash.

    Unless Ferraris have 2.85L engines nowadays, I think you’re exaggerating a bit.

    Sure he won, but should he be proud about it?

    Yes. He beat a car likely costing twice as much, if not more. It’s a different design than you’d like, but that doesn’t make it worse.

  • avatar
    brettc

    8 years ago, I was driving a Jetta diesel (no turbo) with a 1.6 litre engine that did 52 horsepower. It had plenty of power for city driving. Even on the highway it didn’t do badly, but it was underpowered for the highway. Then I moved up to a 68 horsepower turbodiesel Jetta, which was like a rocket. Then I moved to a Jetta TDI, which is a night and day difference from any of the old VW diesels.

    All the vehicles I’ve driven in the past 15 years including gas powered vehicles have been 4 cylinder. I don’t know why people think/thought that a 6 cylinder is/was a necessity in a passenger car. With the engineering that goes into 4 cylinder engines from European and Asian manufacturers, they’ve been able to turn out some pretty impressive engines with good power and good economy. It’s too bad that fuel prices have been the only way to make people downsize.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    If you drive 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year, even at $4 per gallon gasoline, you’re not going to recoup the extra $3,000 to $4,000 premium that it costs to buy a Prius over its non-hybrid competition, which is not a midsized sedan averaging 20 to 25 mpg, within the average life span of the car. Comparing a Prius to a Camry will naturally make the Prius look good. the Camry costs nearly the same and gets much worse mileage. Compare it to its true competition, a Civic, Corolla, etc., that average 30 to 35 mpg in mixed driving and the number of years to recoup the additional capital outlay for the Prius will be over the average length of car ownership. Several years ago when people were starting to hail the Prius as the greatest thing since sliced bread, I calculated that at $2.50 per gallon of gasoline, you would never recoup an initial additional cost of $4,000 driving 15,000 miles per year. The interest on $4,000 would be greater than any fuel savings over a compact car, my mom’s Corolla in this case.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Carshark:

    Yes. He beat a car likely costing twice as much, if not more.

    I doubt that the Ferrari only cost twice as much unless it was the cheapest Ferrari and a Corvette ZR1. For the cost of a Ferrari you can buy three Corvette Z06s. So, I guess it would be like a 3rd grader bragging about how he outsmartd a freshman in highschool. By the way, the Corvette also gets much better gas mileage than the Ferrari, despite the greater displacement, in daily driving-20+ mpg on the highway is real for a Corvette.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Someone should link this directly to the March sales numbers. Frankly, I have driven everything from I-4’s to v-8’s, but have only owned fours. I find that a v-8 is completely unneccessary in everyday diving and a complete waste. Many 4cyl cars have more than adequate power and decent gas mileage. Plus, I prefer smaller, lighter cars. Maybe I am too european, but I feel that a 5 door GTI is more than enough car for most needs (even for the non-track enthusiast).

  • avatar
    geeber

    dwford: If you got paid commission, which would you rather sell: a $700 markup Focus or a $3000 markup F150? and that’s before discounts….

    And if potential customers want a four-cylinder car, would you rather that they buy a Focus, or go over to the Honda dealer for their next vehicle?

    Or is no commission better than a small commission?

    frizzlefry: Sure he won, but should he be proud about it?

    Price a Ferrari, then price a Corvette, and then get back to us…

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    Of course a Ferrari is way more expensive. But its design of the cars I was talking about.

    The actual comparison was a 360 Modena vs a Vette C06. The Corevette beat the Ferrari by half a second to 60 and the top speed it was able reach on the course they were using was 18 mph faster on the short straightaway section. The Ferrari won all the other challenges (handling, braking etc).

    Carshark, I was not exaggerating, by much anyways :) The 2004 Corvette C06 has 7 liters of displacement, the 2004 Modena has 3.6…so its engine is pretty much half the size of the Vette. And it was only beat by half a second on the 0-60…and the top speed for the Modena is 186mph. The Corvette, with an engine twice the size, tops out at 176mph.

    Not saying the Vette is not a great sports car. It is. Just saying that, like most American cars, the engineering is not as good as European cars. Its the same for supercars as it is for 4 bangers. Of course a 7 liter engine will be fast, but its just not a very impressive feet of engineering is all.

    The only main advantage that American cars tend to have over Euro cars is that they are cheaper and can hold big gulp cups :)

  • avatar
    geeber

    frizzlefry: Just saying that, like most American cars, the engineering is not as good as European cars.

    Really? Compare the fuel consumption and reliability of the Corvette to the Ferrari. (We can turn your arguments on their head – from a bigger engine with almost equal performance the Corvette gets superior fuel mileage.)

    For that matter, drive a Corvette on a daily basis, then try the same thing in a Ferrari. Want to guess which one will hold up better in daily use?

    Then tell me that European engineering is better than American engineering.

    The late John R. Bond of Road & Track summed it up best: Any engineer worth his salt can design a water pump for a Rolls-Royce. It takes a genius to design one for a Chevrolet.

    frizzlefry: The only main advantage that American cars tend to have over Euro cars is that they are cheaper and can hold big gulp cups :)

    Read the latest annual auto issue of Consumer Reports.

    Another big advantage that most American cars have over European ones is that they actually tend to work. All of that superior engineering isn’t doing anyone much good when the vehicle is on the lift at the dealer…

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    The guys who designed the Ferrari never intended it to be a daily driver though. The Corvette is intended as a daily driver and fuel economy was a larger consideration when designing it. Yeah, the fuel economy of the ferrari stinks, but the design is still impressive considering the engine size.

    Reliability is reported by consumer reports as “problems per 100 cars”. Question is, what defines a problem? The seat adjuster failing is considered a problem. But so is an engine defect that causes the car to stall in traffic. I have had 3 domestic cars. One, engine had to be replaced at 96000km. The next one, the exhaust system failed at 63000km, then again a week later after it was fixed. The 3rd one I leased brand new. I discovered the brake booster losses vacuum on hot days (only in high altitude locations) so you need two feet to stop the car after parked until the vacuum builds up again. Of course, I discovered that when I rear-ended someone on the 3rd day of my lease. The manufacturer acknowledged the problem and replaced the car will the next years model. It has the same problem, though not as bad. I just pump the brake before I start driving to prevent another accident.

    I have a friend who had a VW. I asked if he liked it. “Yeah its great, reliability sucks though. My radio stopped working and the sunroof jams all the time.” Well….at least his brakes work. He just bought a new GTI, despite his sunroof experience.

    “Problems per 100” is not a good measure for reliability that really matters. I would rather my remote door unlock stop working (My father’s Audi A6) than have my engine catch on fire (my sister’s recalled Pontiac).

    People tend not to buy a brand again if a life threatening defect, like brake failure, occurs. Thats why European cars have brand loyalty (Audi had a very good year) and domestics sales are falling like a meteor.

  • avatar
    synthetic

    Why are we discussing Ferrrari vs Corvette under an article about 4-bangers?!!

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    started out of a point that a smaller engine can perform just as well as an engine twice its size when designed well. And then it became a popular discussion…opps.

  • avatar
    geeber

    frizzlefry: The guys who designed the Ferrari never intended it to be a daily driver though. The Corvette is intended as a daily driver and fuel economy was a larger consideration when designing it. Yeah, the fuel economy of the ferrari stinks, but the design is still impressive considering the engine size.

    Both are designed as performance cars, but the Corvette is also usable as a daily driver, offering superior fuel economy and durability in typical driving situations. To me, that is good engineering.

    Of course, (getting back to the discussion regarding four-cylinder engines) if GM had lavised similar care and attention on the Cavalier/Cobalt over the years, it wouldn’t be in its present position. The Cobalt and its Ecotech engine would be class leaders by a wide margin.

    frizzlefry: Reliability is reported by consumer reports as “problems per 100 cars”. Question is, what defines a problem?

    Consumer Reports breaks down reliability by components and component groups clearly on its charts. And, when it gives the final, overall reliability rating, it places more emphasis on serious problems (i.e., drivetrain, air conditioning compressor, etc.) than on more minor issues (rattling interior trim, etc.).

    frizzlefry: People tend not to buy a brand again if a life threatening defect, like brake failure, occurs. Thats why European cars have brand loyalty (Audi had a very good year) and domestics sales are falling like a meteor.

    A few months ago another poster linked to information on which marques are more likely to experience customer defections, and the Europeans were far more likely to bleed customers than either domestics or the Asians (which were best at retaining customers).

    Most owners of European cars who buy another tend to be those who lease their cars and turn them in just before the warranty ends.

    Regarding those who buy their cars and keep them for a long time, and those who buy USED European cars…they tend to switch to another brand, usually mid-line or high-line Asian (Acura, Lexus, etc.). The experience of dealing with frequent troubles, and paying for the expenses out of pocket, tends to dull their enthusiasm for their present vehicle (even though most of them loved the way that the vehicle handled and performed).

    Note, for example, that most brand-new BMWs are leased, and VW has been LOSING money in the U.S.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    Good points geeber. You are likely right about the leasing % of the Euro cars. It would not surprise me. I just can never find anyone who ever complains about their old VWs or BMWs. They all love them so much that the repairs don’t seem to bother them. And I have never heard of many major problems with them, all “little” things…no engine failures. But maybe I only hear one side of things. But the fact that VW made the bulk of its fleet in Mexico for a while sure did not help.

    But, speaking of 4 bangers, I do not know enough about the ecotech to comment but are you saying that the ecotech would be a class leader if GM had paid more attention to it? I would say thats true of everything. I do know that my girlfiend’s sister has a 1996 jetta, loves it. I drove it and even though it’s 2 liter only makes 115hp, it was way more zippy and fun than my 2006 Focus. NA car makers are way behind and have some catching up to do.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    I’ve got that same 115HP VW 2.0L. Good engine and torquey.

    Just because you sound surprised that it makes 115HP (as if that is alot), I’ll mention that my ’99 CR-V 2.0L makes 146 HP naturally aspriated. Of course it has much less torque in normal rpm ranges and is in a much heavier vehicle than my VW Cabrio. VBG!

    Hmm, let’s switch the engines in these vehicles so their personalities match the application better… VBG!

    A four banger is all the average person needs for hauling around themselves and three passengers or themselves and some stuff.

    Of course much of our fellow citizens wants am much power and vehicle as they can navigate down the streets of America. We all pay for their consumption habits.

    That is one reason I want a fuel EV for my around town driving. If I have a full solar array on my house roof then those led foot daily drivers can use all the fuel they want and my cost is independent of how the market reacts.

    FWIW the cost of fuel will continue to go up. There are 160M drivers in China and 60M four wheeled vehicles. That does not include the millions of scooters or the size of the fleet and potential fleet in other developing countries like India. we’ll hit little plateaus where fuel costs remain the same or where it even drops a little but I feel certain it will continue to consume a larger percentage of our personal budgets.

    FWIW Maybe this is a good thing. Bring some of our neighbors back to reality so that this generation gains some of the wisdom that our grandparents did in the Great Depression. Of course they too consumed as quickly as they could for a decade or two after WWII but I surely have met alot of retirees who made very careful choices that left them with a comfortable retirement and money to help their children into adulthood.

    Remember that when we are paying $5 a gallon, the cost of fuel in Europe potentially rise as well if their more valuable currency doesn’t mediate this as well. I feel our current consumption patterns can’t be sustained for generation after generation.

    FWIW I have a couple friends who are casually educating ourselves about how to feed ourselves without high cost groceries. I mean we are reading up and/or practicing some of the skills that our grandparents had like gardening and canning.

    Katrina demonstrated to us how fragile our society is. We can’t rely on the gov’t to show up and hold our hands. We can’t rely on them to bring us groceries. We can’t rely on them to make the best decisions for us as a country.

    Time to make some good decisions for ourselves. Unfortunately there are enough dimwits in this country that will continue to do what is easiest and potentially undermine whatever good decisions our gov’t does make. Hopefully people will surprise us some better decisions.

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