Inverse Appropriation of Power

overcompensatingIt continually astounds me how people crave more than they need, or even more than they could ever possibly use. The automotive industry is a horrific offender in the more than you need category, and while we – in the US – still do not produce any fuel-efficient vehicles worth speaking of, we continue to cater to the horsepower crowd.  The majority of people today have no contact with horses. Because of this, and their immensely poor elementary education, they have no concept of the power of single horse. Horsepower is a measurement of work performed over time, equivalent to 746 Watts or 33,000 ft·lbf/min. Since this still is meaningless to most of us, let me put it in terms of driving. To maintain 60 MPH on level ground the average car only requires about 12 HP. That’s it. All the extra is there for acceleration, passing, and going much faster than the speed limit.

Power output of automobiles has varied over the years, with the earliest cars making around 20HP and going from there. The point here however isn’t how much and when but why. The average passenger car today comes with well over 200 HP. If you look at what you can do with that much power, you really have to start wondering why you need it to drop the kids off at school and pick up groceries.

The above graphic illustrates some popular vehicles and their HP ratings. These were not chosen as extremes, but as well known and commonly-operated models. The Toyota Camry and F-150 are consistently in the top five best selling vehicles in the US, and the D6 and Skyhawk are iconic in their roles.

From Low to High

Caterpillar D6n: 150 HP

Cessna Skyhawk: 180 HP

John Deere 6170r: 200 HP

Toyota Camry: 268 HP

Dodge Grand Caravan: 283 HP

Ford F-150: 360 HP (or more).

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Inverse Appropriation of Power”

  1. A great reminder of what is needed and what is an excessive luxury.

  2. Even though they are not advertised as eco-cars, it seems the VW TDI Diesel Golf, Jetta, and Passat are best for fuel efficiency (mpg) if made before 2007, or after 2010….?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: