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Will Mandated CO2 Reductions Curb The Horsepower Race?
I think that we may see a variation of what we experienced in the '70s and early '80s, with differences. If we can agree that horsepower will not rise indefinitely, due to environmental and safety concerns, then we can talk about what will eventually turn the focus to another attribute, such as environmental friendliness or greater reliance on renewable energy. This time, though, I think that high performance cars, such as the new generation of pony cars, will remain available, but at a price that puts them out-of-range for the average motorist.
I think that while the horsepower of family cars, to name one category, will plateau soon (you won't see any 5 second 0-60 Camrys), it won't go down materially, as it did in the '70s, due to engineering advances. Also, whereas pony and muscle cars were affordable for many in the '60s, 8 cylinder RWD performance cars will be considerably higher priced this time around, to curb demand. Most new car buyers will be able to afford a V6 Mustang or Camaro, for example, but not a new V8 version.