Why Hasn't Fuel Efficiency Changed Much in Over a Century?

Modern cars have a fuel efficiency similar to the world's first production car made in 1908. So why hasn't fuel efficiency increased?
Jessica Miley

If you aren’t lucky enough to own a Tesla, driving a car with good fuel efficiency is important for both the environment and your pocket. According to YouTube channel Concerning Reality, the average car gets a range of between 20 - 30 miles per gallon. Which is pretty close to an average car in the 1920's. So why hasn't fuel efficiency increased?

It is a great question considering the amount of technology inside a modern car. To get to the bottom of it, host of the channel gives us a brief history lesson.

Reportedly the Model T, the world's first production car made in 1908 was able to get an impressive 30 miles per gallon. We know for certain that cars are now made more efficiently and precisely.

For example engines in modern cars have gone from two valves to pushrods to double overhead cams with four valves. We now also have fuel injection and tire technology that minimizes roll resistance, yet we still haven’t made much progress towards better fuel economy.

There is one very big reason working against all these technological advancements: weight. Modern cars are getting heavier and heavier.

In 1982, cars weighed on average 3054 pounds (1385 kg) by 2006, cars were on average 500 pounds (226 kg) heavier and that number only keeps increasing. Cars are getting heavier because technology is heavy and in addition, consumers now demand increasingly sophisticated safety features which also adds to the car's weight.