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EPA and High Performance Cars – Was It Worth It?

These Three Letters Get Car Lovers Worked Up

When you bring up the EPA to a classic car lover they will likely growl and complain about how the agency single handedly killed the American muscle car with all of its regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency can sure get car folks worked up. Having lived through the era of environmental regulations and catalytic converters, which can reduce once powerful engines to anemic hulks of metal, you have to ask yourself – is it worth it?


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars

Who Cares About MPG?

When the EPA comes into being in the 1970’s car manufacturers have very little restrictions on them to deliver automobiles that are as fuel efficient as they are fast. The car makers keep squeezing bigger and bigger engines into smaller and lighter bodies. The motto is – “you want fast, we’ll give you fast”. No one is concerned with miles per gallon, including consumers.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of EverEffect)

Better Fuel Efficiency – Americans Love a Challenge

As oil embargos and rising fuel costs begin to affect our economy, demands for fuel efficiency do indeed help to kill the muscle car. Yet Americans love a challenge! Why couldn’t a fast car also get great gas mileage, we say? Fast forward to today, where cars are manufactured to be more fuel efficient, better performing and even more powerful than their predecessors.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

Smaller Engines … Faster Cars

Today’s engines are half the size of those in cars like the 1967 Pontiac GTO, which has a 6.4 liter V8 engine with 360 HP. The Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG has a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder twin-turbo engine and is rated at 355 HP. Even “America’s Sports Car”, the Chevrolet Corvette C-7, gets a higher highway fuel economy (29 mpg) than most economy cars do a decade ago.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

MPG Solutions Help Generate Innovation

Think of the technological innovations that are inspired by the EPA rulings back in the 70’s and 80’s. Sure, some had been toyed with, but none are put into practical use until the advent of EPA restrictions. Advances like variable valve timing, direct injection, turbo chargers, advanced engine control computers, lightweight materials and composites are all solutions for the power versus fuel economy conundrum.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

Automotive Ingenuity

Car lovers will say that the evolution of the automobile would have happened regardless of the government stepping in and creating restrictions. Perhaps. Before the EPA comes along car manufacturers seem less motivated to improve a car’s performance. Automatic transmissions barely change from 1950 to 1980. Now, we see automatic transmissions with twice the number of gears and numerous other innovations that (dare we say it!) make them more efficient than manual transmission models. (Gasp!)

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

Tesla Model S – Part Car, Part Electronic Device

Totally electric cars like the Tesla Model S, which is capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, are ushering in a new wave of automobiles. With a battery that is literally part of the car’s structure, the Model S gets an incredible 94 mpg city/ 97 mpg highway. It is part car, part electronic device. The Tesla Model S might very well be the wave of the future.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

The Fastest Accelerating Car of all Time

If an electric car is not to your liking then try this hybrid on for size – the 2015 Koenigsegg Regera. With a base price just shy of $2 million, this hybrid supercar has 1500 HP and can hit speeds of up to 248 mph in less than 20 seconds. It has a 5 liter turbo V8 engine along with three electric motors and a single speed Direct Drive transmission. This unique hybrid may be the fastest accelerating car of all time.

Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of

Turning Roadblocks into Milestones

History shows us that the EPA emission standards force car manufacturers back to the drawing board. At the time we consider them to be hurdles that we neither want nor need, endangering our big engines and fast cars. Sometimes the roadblocks that appear before us turn out to be what motivates us to strive for something better. Maybe that’s what the EPA restrictions accomplish in the long run. Not to mention, the skies above some of our larger cities are benefitting from lower carbon emissions. Thankfully, automotive ingenuity has come full circle, enabling us to not only have fast cars, they are more fuel efficient and more powerful than ever. Isn’t it nice to be able to have our cake and eat it, too?

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

No matter what type car or engine you have, you want to protect them from life’s little mishaps. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/18/2015 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments

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