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Why do most American cars have huge V8 engines if they are so concerned with emissions?

I get that V8s are awesome, but i see so many small cars there with giant V8 engines in them, not to mention the huge trucks and SUVs which all have V8s. Whats wrong with something smaller? a 2.4L 4 cylinder would be sufficient to a lot of them, and even a 3.4L V6 would have plenty of power for most SUVs and trucks. For a country with such strict emissions testing and regulations, why are they marketing so many cars with over sized engines?

Updated 6 days ago:

Seems to be some confusion, by "Cars" i mean SUVs and Pickups as well

27 Answers

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  • Scott
    Lv 6
    2 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    America is a huge country, with long distances between cities. We are not crammed on top of each other in crowded cities, so in most cases there is plenty of room to park a large vehicle. Fuel is much cheaper than many other countries and we have lots of highways with posted speeds of 75-80 MPH. A lot of us tow things, like camping trailers and boats, which take a lot of power to pull up long hills. I just went from a 5.8 liter V8 vehicle to a 3.4 liter V6 vehicle because I got tired of getting 11 MPG. 

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    • Erik
      Lv 7
      6 days agoReport

      "We are not crammed on top of each other in crowded cities"?  Millions of people are exactly like that.

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  • F
    Lv 6
    2 weeks ago

    Because Americans cannot get it into their heads that smaller engines cannot be powerful. They are especially dismissive of turbo charging. A 6 litre V8 with 200bhp is great but a 2 litre turbo with 300 is rubbish.

  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    SUV's are classified as light trucks and are exempt from more restrictive emission and fuel economy standards.  Auto manufacturers love them because they are cheaper to make and sell for much more, and have suckered people into believing SUV's are better and safer than passenger cars.  The Challenger/Charger/Mustang/Camaro/Corvette muscle cars are allowed by using the manufacturer's fleet average for passenger cars, so 4 Dodge Neons compensate for that 6.2 liter 707 horsepower Hemi in the Hellcat.

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  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    We're not when it comes to our own vehicles.  Everyone else though should be concerned about global emissions and making changes.  Al 'Global Warming' Gore, Bloomberg, Obama are prime examples of this type of hypocrisy.

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  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    Makes no sense to me.  Too many people drive vehicles that are way bigger that what they need.

  • 2 weeks ago

    Because most people in America aren't concerned with emissions.

    Some are even proud of owning gas guzzlers - it's a sickness.

    • F
      Lv 6
      2 weeks agoReport

      I went on an “eco” holiday in Canada a few years ago. Save the rain forest etc. But everyone (including ) the staff , had a V8 pick up. No one could see the irony.

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  • Anonymous
    2 weeks ago

    Contraire, and the EU runs nasty little smoking china tea pot made diesels because they can't afford the fuel tax on gasoline. Thus your question was inadvertantly answered, we Americans now pay under $2 USD for a gallon while you pay the equivalent of $6-8 or more USD for an imperial gallon of petrol and end up with terrible diesel smog conditions. Another contraire would be that GB doesn't have the quality roads worthy of a V8 engine like the US and Germany. They still drive on the left like back in horse and buggy days of old to keep their sword hand free LOL.

    • JimTom2 weeks agoReport

      So youre saying its because gas is cheap there? Im not European, but i would guess fuel costs are similar, we pay $2.30nz per litre, which is much higher than US costs. Our smog conditions are quite good in New Zealand.

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  • 2 weeks ago

    The ever shrinking engine size has been going on since the 1960's. Sooner than that overseas. If you only drive 3K miles a year or less, it doesn't matter too much what you drive. Going back to the much more common V-8 days in the 60's and 70's, a "high mileage car" had nearly 50K miles on it. And it might have taken 10-20 years to reach 50K miles. And we all survived on party line telephones, no Internet, WIFI, smart phones. People who are quite literally raging psychopaths are the ones racking up 10K-20K miles a year now-a-days. Like they don't make a shopping list and just go to the store to buy one or two items at a time a thousand times or more a year. Perhaps legally mentally retarded is a better explanation? Entertain me! Pleeease entertain me! No other explanations, period. 

    • JimTom2 weeks agoReport

      Thats an interesting thought, indeed people dont bother planning trips or going as many places as possible while theyre on the road anymore, making Multiple trips arent a big deal. Come to New Zealand if you want to see raging psycopaths on the road, one small mistake and people just explode in rage

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  • Bort
    Lv 6
    2 weeks ago

    Emmissions regulations aren't in effect in every state of the US. And even in areas that have strict emmissions laws it's usually not a large area although it probably should be because the reason for those laws is health and safety. Here is a list of which states, and the areas in them, have emmissions regulations.

    https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/what-states-r...

    Where I live vehicles are required by State laws to have a yearly mechanical inspection. In my area emmissions are not part of the test. The only reason a mechanic would test emmissions where I am is if there's a check engine or other warning light that has to do with emmissions on. Otherwise they don't even check.

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    • Bort
      Lv 6
      1 week agoReport

      In most US states, yes. That's the average limit. Some allow more, others have lower limits. Each State can have it's own laws and while most laws are generally the same they're also slightly different because they're allowed to be. 

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  • arther
    Lv 4
    2 weeks ago

    if your talking about a 5vz-fe v6 3400 v6 my daily driver they drink fuel like no tomorrow a v8 diesel uses less, my  LS powered commodore uses less ,Have you worked out what AFM or DOD does yet? 

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  • Rick B
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    "Most American Cars" do not have V8 engines. Most American cars have 4 or 6 cylinder engines.

    For a country with such strict emissions testing and regulation????? Huh??? Other than California, our emission testing is not strict at all.

    Where are you getting your "facts" from???

    • JimTom2 weeks agoReport

      Obviously "Most" is an overstatement and the whole question is a generalisation, dont get so upset.

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