Their Zippers Bust, Their Buckles Break . . . by Eric Peters

Safety mandates have added massive weight to automobiles, substantially decreasing their fuel efficiency. From Eric Peters at

You’ve heard the story about teaching a pig to sing? It wastes your time and annoys the pig. So said Mark Twain, at any rate.

But how do you deal with cars that are pigs?

Which is all new cars.

Even hybrid cars.

The 2018 Kia Niro plug-in hybrid I just finished reviewing (here) averaged just over 42 MPG  . . . right there with a 1984 Chrysler K-car. Which didn’t need an electric motor and batteries to achieve 40-plus MPG. (The K-car also cost about half what the Niro costs, in inflation-adjusted dollars – but that’s another rant.)

The 2019 Subaru Ascent I test drove the week prior (here) averaged a truly dismal 22.4 MPG – despite being powered by the very latest in fuel-saving high-tech: a 2.4 liter direct-injected/turbocharged four cylinder engine, the works bolted to a fuel-saving continuously variable (CVT) automatic and geared for maximum MPGs.

All that . . . and 22.8 MPG.

My ancient (1976) Pontiac Trans-Am, a muscle car with an engine more than three times as large (7.5 liter V8) and which doesn’t have a computer, direct injection or a turbocharger but doeshave a big four barrel carburetor and burnout-enhancing 3:90 gears is only slightly less thirsty.

It is capable of averaging in the high teens.

Well, the question arises – in view of all the “efficient” and  “fuel saving” technologies new cars boast: Why are they so fuel inefficient?

It is because they are grotesque fatties.

Four-wheeled emulators of Gabourey Sidibe (from Precious).

The average 2018 model car is on the order of 500-800 pounds heavier than its 1990 equivalent.

Here are some for-instances:

1990 Ford Escort, curb weight 2,242 lbs. vs. 2018 Ford Focus (the current Escort equivalent) which weighs 2,974 lbs. – a gain of 732 lbs.

1990 Toyota Camry, curb weight 2,811 lbs. vs. 2018 Camry, 3,340 lbs – a gain of 529 lbs.

1990 Dodge Caravan, curb weight 2,910 lbs. vs. 2018 Caravan, 4,510 lbs. – a gain of 1,600 lbs!

The 2018 Kia Niro hybrid I test drove – ostensibly an “economy” car and a “compact” by modern car standards – weighs almost 3,400 pounds. Which is just a couple of hundred pounds less than my 1976 Trans-Am, which is a much larger (but only slightly heavier) muscle car.

And the Subaru Ascent weighs several hundred pounds more than my 42-year-old muscle car, despite the Pontiac’s huge cast-iron V8, cast iron rear axle and a bolt-on steel subframe just like a truck’s.

To continue reading: Their Zippers Bust, Their Buckles Break . . .


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