If it\’s got an engine. . .

Dorri probably likes it

What’s the real improvement?

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on December 1, 2005


Seth Godin posted today a diatribe against the automotive industry regarding their refusal to improve the fuel economy of their vehicles.

I agree: better fuel economy is a good thing.

What I disagree with is this argument:

I continue to be puzzled by the car industry’s ongoing fight against better mileage (Bennington Banner – Headlines.) Imagine how moribund the computer industry would be if processors never got faster. You’d only buy a new computer when your old one got too dusty.

He is stating (indirectly) that gas mileage of cars is equivalent to processor speed of computers.

It is not.

Processor speed of computers should be compared with horsepower of cars, which has increased dramatically over the past two decades.

Other aspects of the average automobile have dramatically improved as well. Consider the following case. In 1995 the MSRP for a Toyota Corolla LE was $16,848. That car had 105 horsepower and got 27/34 city/hwy mileage.

Two complete redesigns later, the 2005 Toyota Corolla LE‘s MSRP is $14,990. It has 25 more horsepower and gets 5 mpg better in town and 7 mpg better on the highway.

If you figure in inflation, it’s a lot cheaper.

And better.

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One Response to “What’s the real improvement?”

  1. Croak said

    He didn’t mention that as CPU clock speeds went up, power consumption went up quite a bit as well. 150w power supplies used to be the norm..today’s rigs need 450w or bigger..that should tell you something.

    Anyone bother to do a study on what impact today’s fast desktop machines are having on national/world energy consumption? I bet the results (when compared to, oh, 1999-2000) would make a tree-hugger’s toes curl.

    And the “economy” processors, like those found in laptops, rely heavily on throttling CPU speed to reduce power consumption. That is analogous to the “skip shift” in a ‘Vette, or displacement on demand schemes in a car). Turn off the throttling, and they still eat more juice than most older, slower processors.

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