Should V8 engines be outlawed?

February 3rd, 2009

Someday the era of gasoline-powered vehicles will come to an end. 

While no one really knows what technology will come forward to take over the top spot from fossil fuels, we all know the cars on the road in 50 years will be very different from the ones we’re buying now.

In the short term, carmakers obviously need to become more fuel efficient (which is the topic of major controversy recently) to maximize every drop of remaining oil. The biggest change I think will be the demise of the V8 engine, especially as higher performance V6 engines and diesels become more popular.

2010 Cadillac SRX

2010 Cadillac SRX

Take a look at the 2010 Cadillac SRX and you won’t see the fire-breathing Northstar V8 as an option, but instead a duo of V6 options. The outgoing V8 put out 320 horsepower with a 4.6-liter engine, while a new turbocharged V6 is reported to put out 300 horsepower from a 2.8-liter.

That, my friends, is the kind of progress we can expect to see in the coming years. I’d even go so far as to say V8 engines should be completely outlawed. With new technology like the SRX’s V6 and the clean diesel technology from companies like Mercedes-Benz, traditional V8 engines might be better suited for museums than street use.  

2010 MINI Crossman concept

2010 MINI Crossover concept

While families who need the space of an SUV will still be able to buy them, other options such as the 2010 MINI Crossover Concept will spring up for those who need a moderate amount of space, all-wheel-drive and the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder engine.

With options like high-performance V6 engines, clean diesels, and practical, moderately sized 4-cylinder crossovers, who needs V8 engines? Should they eventually be outlawed?

-tgriffith

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  1. Someone
    September 13th, 2014 at 03:26 | #1

    Make the cars lighter. Seriously, a four cylinder car that ways over 2 tons will not be as fuel efficient as the same car with a V8 because the 4 cylinder has to work harder to move.

  2. dylan
    June 22nd, 2014 at 10:35 | #2

    I love v8s! V6 is ok but I don’t like v4 and I hate elictric

  3. Francis
    December 24th, 2013 at 13:32 | #3

    On the subject of V8, they are very nostalgic. Would any real American who owns high performance be proud if he/she had anything, but a V8? My Toronado has craptastic gas mileage at about 12 around town and around 16 on the highway. You can build a V-8 to have a lot of torque and horsepower cheaply while with a 4 banger or 6 you have to put a lot of money into it. Anyone that says 4 bangers and 6 cylinders are just as powerful as V8s go talk to the Top Fuel guys that ALL have V8s. Why in the hell would you want anything but a V8, especially a 440 Six Pack or the 426 HEMI!

  4. February 13th, 2012 at 13:11 | #4

    what they should outlaw is giant aircraft burning 100,000 pounds of fuel carrying 100 people 2000 miles. figures out to 1/2 gal of fuel per mile per passenger which would equate to a 2 mile per gallon auto.

  5. February 13th, 2012 at 13:03 | #5

    this writer should be outlawed..Properly geared a V8 can get more mpg than a 4 cyl.

  6. September 28th, 2011 at 13:46 | #6

    I’d rather walk or ride a bike then drive a 4cyl or V6. At least then I’d actually be saving the environment rather driving a an ugly “fuel efficient” car thats no fun to drive and sounds lame. if you’re gonna drive a car and use fuel, might as well make it a V8. with today’s technology, V8s are very efficient and refined. It’s not just small engines that benefit from advancement. And as I’ve said before, fuel economy depends just as much, if not MORE on driving habits and maintenance. The only way I’m gonna trade my hemi challenger (which I love, VVT VCT 376 hp and great gas mileage) in is if it’s for something else rear-drive with a V8. Thats the kind of car for me and it’s my choice. If there are no more V8s in cars then I simply won’t buy any more new cars! I say we outlaw 4 cylinders just because I don’t like them. See if that annoys their owners at all!

  7. Román
    September 28th, 2011 at 04:31 | #7

    I can only agree.
    Year by year I would reduce engine size BY LAW.
    You would see much more technological breakthroughts, and definitely much better than outdated, v8 truck engines. V8 engines are to car engineering what a drum is to music (not exactly the refinement of the Berliner Philarmonica).

  8. chris
    August 11th, 2011 at 12:25 | #8

    this is bull ****…lol i love my hemi:)

  9. Terry Rider
    December 21st, 2010 at 01:13 | #9

    Way back in the day I had a 1976 Camaro Type Lt and it had a 350 V8 with a quadrajet 4 barrel, and an automatic tranny. It had what was called at the time “HighwayGears”. It was gutless until about 35mph and then it would go like crazy. It got it’s best gas milage at 85mph which was about 26mpg. I’m sure if it would have been fuel injected it would have gotten closer to 30mpg or better. Why is it that some 4 cylinder cars can’t get 26mpg?
    To further spit in the face of these non efficiant 4 cylinders, My Father had a 1965 Galaxie 500 with a Lincoln(gold colored)390 V8 and it had a sticker on the motor that it said it had 12-1 compression and had 425 hp and it got 22 mpg on the Highway. Don’t bother looking it up because I could not find it either on the internet. It was even more strange because it also had a Blue Coach on the door frame which is the mark of a company called Body by Fisher which supposedly only makes GM car bodies.

  10. Bill
    October 3rd, 2010 at 14:33 | #10

    By the way the Corvette would probably get 50 MPG if it had a small 4cyl. The car is efficient, not the engine.

  11. Bill
    October 3rd, 2010 at 14:32 | #11

    The choice to buy a V8 should be up to the buyer, but they should pay more for the resources they are destroying just to have a large capacity engine for no reason. Buyers who choose larger engines should be faced with much higher taxes to compensate for the real costs of their poor “in my opinion” decision. It’s funny how Europeans drive much faster with much smaller engines in the same exact car. A large capacity engine is worthless in America because the roads are full of potholes, slow/poor drivers in decrepid vehicles, and mis-timed traffic lights (why no roundabouts?).

  12. John
    October 3rd, 2010 at 14:21 | #12

    I doubt too many gasoline V8s could tow a 30 foot car trailer with 2 cars and trucks on it without overheating and breaking down. You need a turbo diesel to move that kind of weight. Get over it, V8s are going away. The new F150 has a higher tow rating with the Ecoboost V6 and in several years will move to a Ecoboost 4 cylinder with higher CAFE requirements and higher fuel prices. The V8 is part of America as much as the shoddily built McMansions that all falling apart across the country. Its not an America I want to live in and I am sure most people would agree. V8 sales are dropping because most people realize they aren’t needed. In my opinion V8s sound terrible too. If you drive a V8 pickup or car with no mufflers, your vehicle sounds terrible to most people. To me it sounds like a helicopter.

  13. whitestrikr21
    September 29th, 2010 at 13:34 | #13

    and the people who do drive v8s dont mind paying for gas more often. because if they did they wouldnt drive one. so up yours

  14. whitestrikr21
    September 29th, 2010 at 13:33 | #14

    wow really a 4 cylinder can tow bullshit, ive tried to pull a lawn mower behind a 4 banger and he mower held the piece of shit back. the v8 is a part of america. the choice of engine should be completely up to the buyer. for some people they cant drive a 4 banger due to there major lack of power try towing a 30 foot car trailer with 2 cars/trucks on it with a 4 banger. not gonna happen to back to hugging your trees and jacking off to your prius @ John

  15. John
    January 25th, 2010 at 18:15 | #15

    V8s should be taxed heavily. V8 cars and light trucks should pay a $2000 annual tax. V6 cars and light trucks should pay a $1000 annual tax. Inline 4s last longer, produce fewer emissions (including greenhouse gases-not that I believe in global warming), are cheaper to maintain, lead to better handling since they are lighter, produce enough power to move just about any vehicle over the speed limit, produce better MPG even in heavy vehicles. Why are inline 4s so popular in Europe and Japan? I drive a heavy crossover with a 4cyl and it runs fine (rarely revs over 3000 rpm) and easily tows 3500 pounds up hills. I rode with someone in a Corvette (C5) with the 5.7. At 70 MPH it only got 18 MPG. The Boss Hoss motorcycle with a 350 V8 only get 20 MPG. Large Diplacement engines eat alot of fuel. Heck 80,000 pound trucks that have “relatively” small engines get 6-7 MPG. Inline engine last longer becasue the pistons are straight up and down. All large truck diesels are inline 6. Inline 4s are better for cars since they are compact. Quite Frankly V6s and V8s suck and the new CAFE and high gas prices will kill them. Good Riddence.

  16. tcee
    December 2nd, 2009 at 03:49 | #16

    Joe:

    That’s rediculous. What goes on in your head to say something as stupid as “I want to outlaw V8s”. That’s a blatant attack on a timeless, and still exceptionally viable engine layout, and an attack on personal choice and free will. Get over yourself you megalomaniac.
    Did you know my freaking Corvette gets 30+ mpg on the hwy, and it’s got a 430hp V8 in it!!!!
    Why is it fools like you get their own blogs. Grow up, and educate yourself, before you make another entry as stupid as this.
    Progress is indeed happening, and it will continue to happen without the outlaw of V8 engines…what a stupid suggestion.

    @Lady like

    wow!

  17. Lady like
    November 22nd, 2009 at 23:03 | #17

    I agree with all the comments said above about the fact that people “want” the option of driving a V8 instead of a V6, not because they need them but because they enjoy them and can be more fuel efficient… and this coming from a lady’s perspective, not only men have this need for speed and performance, but so do women!

  18. ford vicky
    October 24th, 2009 at 23:37 | #18

    My 1990 Ford Crown victoria (drag coeficient of 0.42) gets 31mpg on highway and my friends 1993 vic gets 33mpg

  19. cassius king
    October 21st, 2009 at 01:19 | #19

    The Tesla ain’t gonna run worth doodoo in zero degree weather. I LUV my V8

  20. Wake Up
    September 25th, 2009 at 15:13 | #20

    How about 0 mpg because it uses no GAS !! And will smoke your stupid Vette.

    http://www.teslamotors.com/

  21. Jim Delaney
    August 27th, 2009 at 11:40 | #21

    The idea of a ban is typical for today’s climate ,so lets look at what really counts when you own a car like this . The turbocharged engines run at a high temperature/pressure which demands clean oil and air filters(translates to loving/paranoid care) ,and God help you if something goes wrong (remember how Chrysler lost big on all the turbo kcars?),it’s going to cost more to fix it than an atmospheric motor .Yeah,turbo’s are sexy ,but sexy means more money . Why would they take the 300 hp direct injection v6 used in the CTS ,put it in the new Camaro(great idea!)and then put a blower on a v6 for anothere Caddy (hello Bueller?)?Not a great idea . I have 2005 HEMI R/T Magnum,20 mpg with the multiple displacement feature ,but ,it could be better ,the damn car is too delicate in the front end .They sold it in Europe w/ turbo diesel ,now that would have been a great car for the states ,despite a fragile front end

  22. Joe
    August 5th, 2009 at 20:28 | #22

    That’s rediculous. What goes on in your head to say something as stupid as “I want to outlaw V8s”. That’s a blatant attack on a timeless, and still exceptionally viable engine layout, and an attack on personal choice and free will. Get over yourself you megalomaniac.

    Did you know my freaking Corvette gets 30+ mpg on the hwy, and it’s got a 430hp V8 in it!!!!

    Why is it fools like you get their own blogs. Grow up, and educate yourself, before you make another entry as stupid as this.

    Progress is indeed happening, and it will continue to happen without the outlaw of V8 engines…what a stupid suggestion.

  23. Yves
    July 10th, 2009 at 15:28 | #23

    I have a Cadillac SRX 2006 with a V8 and I love it. The fact that I don’t have to floor it when I want to pass somebody is very pleasing; I also have a Pontiac transport and this one I have to floor it for something to happen.

  24. max
    July 8th, 2009 at 12:58 | #24

    Who is the poofter that wrote this??????????? Some fudge packing tree hugging gen xyz blah blah blah???? V-8 engines are a choice and a damn good choice. Some people still work for a living and do manual labor, no thats not a little mexican guy. You might be able to haul around your futon and i pod in your prius but some people still haul around good and tools. Yes Gasoline might be on it way out down the road a ways but internal combustion will be here for a while. Hydrogen production or biofuels it will still burn in a v-8.

  25. WOW
    May 20th, 2009 at 23:19 | #25

    See, the problem with what you’re saying is that you’re basing your information off of what others tell you. You’re thinking that we live in a world where everyone obeys traffic laws and get the crappy gas mileage that car companies claim on their larger engines. But here is the reality :

    A V6 turbo will produce the nearly the same gas mileage as a V8 will during city driving (give or take 2 to 4 MPG) because forced induction (on any car) generally increases fuel usage and decreases gas mileage (lower for larger engines, and higher for smaller engines).

    On a free way cruise, however; the V8 gets much better gas mileage (With realism here, what V8 owner really travels at the speed limit?).
    It takes much less effort to travel at higher speed on a V8 than on a V6 or I-4 because of its raw aspirated power.

    On a turbocharged V6, it’ll take more RPM to maintain a speed of 100 mph than a V8 would (It may be able to reach that speed just as fast as the V8, but it’ll use more gas than the V8 to maintain that velocity. That’s what you get with turbochargers.).

    You get much better gas efficiency once you start going over 80 mph with V8s (as opposed to I-4s or V6s).

    [ In addition to that, naturally aspirated engines last longer than turbo engines. You should put that into calculation before saying V8s cost more money. ]

    I propose an alternate proposition, just as sane : Implement the increase of the speed limit from 60 to 110 mph in the fast lane or carpool lane. Yea. You know the Honda Civic? It’s MPG will decrease by half and our V8s will become the economy cars (in the fast/carpool lanes). Wouldn’t it be great?

    On a serious note, why don’t we just create more extreme versions of close-cut over-drive transmissions? The LS7 gets 25 MPG (at the legal speed limit) on the high way and travels from 0-60 in first gear (gotta love that T56). I know people who get way more than 25 MPG highway because they never go at the legal speed (and it’s a light vehicle to add to that).

    In fact, we should just ban all SUVs, trailers, trucks, and other heavy vehicles. It’s the weight of cars that’s usually causing bad gas mileage anyways. The catch?

    There is a need for SUVs, trailers and trucks that is worth the gas money to most businesses and consumers – just like how people with V8s think that it’s worth the gas money to keep (even if you drive at the legal speed limit all the time).

    You might as well try to ban alcohol again.

  26. RB
    February 23rd, 2009 at 20:54 | #26

    You gotta be kiddin me. Do you know anything about automobiles? In some vehicles, a V8 can get much better fuel economy than a V6. It has nothing to do with the # of cylinders, but the overall design of the powerplant. The 2010 Camaro is one such beast which should get as good if not better mileage in its V8 trim (assuming you can resist the 400+ HP that it will be packing).

  27. Jaime
    February 4th, 2009 at 03:20 | #27

    We are on the cusp of changing how cars work. Consumers fall into two main categories. People who love to drive cars like muscle cars and really feel the engine and then people who are super aware of gas prices and think the environment and price is more important than a certain aesthetic. (with some shades in between). When it comes down to it owning a car with a V8 should be by choice and eventually better technology will take it over. (not by force but through demand)

  28. V8 ALEX V8
    February 3rd, 2009 at 16:09 | #28

    This is insane… banning V8 engines… you must be kidding me… What i think this writer needs to see is that they don’t know enough about engines to make a solid opinion… I myself drive a 4.6lford MOD V8 engine and i get 30 mpg on the highway. I get about 20 in the city if im just cruising sure if i get on it the mileage drops but same goes for all cars… if you push a four banger as hard as i push mine then it wont get the same mileage. I want the option to have 300 400 or even 600hp cars and if it costs me more money then thats just fine… Id like to point out that yes the alarming trend is that cars are getting fatter… my example is also the Corvette… It is very light and very fast and if you throw it from first to fourth into sixth on the highway you can enjoy eco car economy… and then when you want to change the earths axis of rotation you have the horsepower to do so… Im with edward… why the hell should this be a socialist decision… SAVE THE V8s loose the weight… id love a V8 powered (restyled) elise… that would be sweet… and you will never kill off the people that want muscle cars… Thats built into some of our DNA and wont go away no matter what you do… imposing a gas tax (ive heard as much as 5 dollars a gallon WTF) will simply lead to a swift beheading of the current administration… As to the new form of energy for cars… I believe it will be hydrogen but not in the way they are currently using it… Anyone here know what happens when you run hydrogen (just like you would use gas) in a carb fed engine??? it works! yeah… and works well… and it produces nothing but a little heat and water… THATS where its at… especially for the people that want to keep the car feeling… fill it up and drive away… thats what people want…

  29. Edward
    February 3rd, 2009 at 15:00 | #29

    Yes…let the market decide! Since when did we become a socialist dictatorship with Pelosi and friends telling us what we have to drive? When gas gets up to $5+ a gallon again and stays there, the market will shift predominantly to 4 and 6-cylinder cars. There will still be a limited market for V8s, but aside from trucks, will be insignificant. Who cares if someone wants to buy a Corvette or Escalade? If they’re OK with a $100+ fill-up, let ‘em!

  30. Randy
    February 3rd, 2009 at 14:32 | #30

    The previous comments make a good point that most people aren’t buying V8′s because they need them, but rather because they want them. People who think that 18 or 20MPG is good mileage belong in the same genus of dodo bird as GM’s Bob Lutz, who buzzes GM’s Proving Grounds in his gallons per minute jet fighter while proclaiming that the latest gas guzzling GM SUV is some kind of green-ecomobile.

    That said, I’m not in favor of banning anything. It’s a lot easier to extend the gas guzzler tax to engine configurations that are wasteful (like big gas V8′s when diesels or V6′s are available in the same lineup). Let the pleasure drivers pay an extra 15% to 20% of the cost of the vehicle for the thrill of pealing away from that traffic light and I think most folks will find it not worth the price.

  31. Edward
    February 3rd, 2009 at 14:29 | #31

    I’m really tired of hearing people screaming for “outlawing” the V-8. The Corvette is a perfect example of a fuel-efficient V8 car. I’ve heard of a lot of Vette owners getting over 30 mpg on the highway. I think the bigger culprit is vehicle weight. It seems every model change, cars gain about 200-400 pounds. THAT’S the trend that needs to stop.

  32. John
    February 3rd, 2009 at 12:36 | #32

    I want the option of having a V8 whenever I look at a vehicle. It’s good to see progress for the V6 and everything else out there (the V6 in the new Camaro is rated at 300hp…that’s a couple shy of the current Mustang GT) The Hemis of today get about 20. It would be a crime to even think about outlawing V8…what are you gonna do about the V10s & V16s found in exotic cars and diesel trucks world wide? Most people who but a V8 buy it for enjoyment, and nowadays most V8s get better gas mileage than cars of the ’60s and ’70s could ever dream of (My Camaro with an LS1/4L60E gets 22mpg all day long, even when I’m hot-rodding it). How about the new Corvette ZR1? It makes 620hp and still manages 18mpg. I know it’ll be awhile before V8s get gas mileage the little 4-bangers get, but come on, that’s no reason to do away with them. And why don’t you use cars that are going to be produced, not concepts…who knows if they’ll ever see the light of day. The thing about a concept, what they say it’ll do doesn’t always turn out that way when it gets produced. As for me, I’ll keep my V8s thank you very much.

  33. Mike
    February 3rd, 2009 at 10:43 | #33

    The cadillac SRX v6 engine has yet to be tested by the EPA. the ‘fire breathing’ v8 from the STS does an good 18MPG ( combined) witch I think is quite good for a vehicule this size. The real problem with a car is the driver behind it. IF you have a ‘lead foot’ it will be a problem even If you have an fuel effiecient vehicule.

  34. Blake
    February 3rd, 2009 at 09:27 | #34

    WTF? Driving a V8 is a choice made by consumers who demand more performance than a V6 can offer. It is the cornerstone engine type of american muscle and why would we want to break that great tradition. Let economics decide but outlawing the V8 is going way too far. Personally I love my LS6 V8 and im not gonna give it up just because gas gets a little high.

  1. September 21st, 2011 at 05:02 | #1