In Today's World, Engines With More Than Four Cylinders Are Nothing but a Waste

Want some V8 rumble? Are you ready to start your day by rolling coal on some cyclist? A V10 is the only engine that you’re considering as an alternative to a V12 or a W16? Well, then it’s time to hear me out. You might end up saving yourself some good money and avoiding a lot of headaches down the road.
BMW V12 Engine in a Museum 6 photos
Photo: Jin Cheng on Unsplash
Honda VTEC EngineBMW V12 EngineChevrolet Impala with a V6Lamborghini Aventador Engine Bay2023 Ford Maverick
The world is certainly your oyster if you’re looking down on people that drive three- or four-cylinder cars or trucks. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude towards smaller engines with fewer cylinders won’t help anyone in the long run. Not you, not me, and not the environment. But let’s get to the point.

It’s 2022 and gas is currently averaging at about $4.9 a gallon nationwide. If you think this is tough, look over the pond at Europeans. They’re paying over $7 or even more in some countries. The worst thing, however, is that gas prices rose sharply this year. It started in March when the $4 threshold was reached, and it peaked last month when we saw the $5 mark being reached for the national U.S. average fuel prices.

This doesn’t help the fact that inflation continues to shrink the value of your monthly income, and corporations – although reporting record profits – continue to increase prices by quoting the problems brought by the health crisis and the unstable geopolitical context.

Whatever side you might be on, it’s not looking good at all. Inflation, stimulus checks, low wages, high energy prices, housing problems, supply chain issues, a crisis in Europe, parts sourcing hardships, an ever-growing China that seems to be sitting on a financial bombshell, and not enough support from the Middle East for the oil output increase that could significantly bring fuel prices down... This reality is making almost anyone nervous. Add climate change to this and the fact that we’re bombarded daily with information about random stuff that doesn’t help our common situation at all, and you get a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

This is an extremely brief attempt to objectively summarize the current situation we’re in.

Don’t judge anyone. Talk with them

Now take this very unfortunate context and look at someone that has in their driveway cars or trucks that are powered by V8s or old in-line six-cylinder engines. Some may even be extremely lucky and have V10s ready to just roar into life at the push of a button. Are these persons conscious about the environment or the state of things right now? Do they care? Most likely – no. Should they care? Yes and no.

We have these two amazing things called freedom of speech and freedom of choice. If someone wants to daily drive a Lamborghini Aventador that’s powered by a naturally aspirated 12-cylinder engine, they can very well do that. If your neighbor has a Lexus LFA that simply makes anyone look in awe around themselves to find the thing that puts out that amazing sound coming from the V10, then you can’t force them to abandon their car in favor of a small, eco-friendly hatchback.

But with this much freedom come a lot of responsibilities and, as we all know already, actions have consequences.

Just to put things better into perspective – the V8 you’re currently finding in the BMW M5 or BMW M8 develops 467 kW (626 hp) – over three times more than what’s needed to move a 2022 Toyota Camry around. Who needs that much power to go from one point to another? The public roads aren’t a track, so it makes almost no sense to have these kinds of cars on the road.

Believe it or not – the same thing applies to vehicles like the Tesla Model S Plaid or Porsche Taycan Turbo S. Even if they’re electric, nobody will ever use that much power to fulfill their daily responsibilities.

But unlike EVs, internal combustion engine cars or trucks provide our environment with a cocktail of harmful gasses. Take just carbon dioxide as an example – it contributes to heating our atmosphere, and it’s also slowly turning our oceans acidic. Aquatic wildlife is going to have to adapt incredibly fast or just disappear if we keep it up like this.

Someone I hold dear to myself and look up to told me a couple of days ago that our transportation future isn’t electric because some carmakers aren’t yet convinced about following this path. I respectfully disagreed.

We must change

Our common future is going to be electric. Downsizing internal combustion engines is a thing that’s been happening since 2010, and, eventually, selling a car that has a tailpipe will be illegal. But until then, we should act. If it’s not comfortable or feasible to get an EV right now, choose something with a smaller engine like the hybrid Ford Maverick.

The government should also step in and help those that give up on gas guzzlers. A $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs isn’t enough. There needs to be more support for those that buy all-electric cars, but politicians should also offer a helping hand to Americans that want more efficient internal combustion engine vehicles.

I’d buy a Toyota Mirai tomorrow if the U.S. can get a reliable charging infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Unfortunately, that’s still a long way ahead. As is, we’re barely scratching the surface with reliable chargers for EVs.

But one thing is clear - we should start to consume fewer fossil fuels. We won’t have them in unlimited quantities for much longer, and energy is already being turned into a political or even diplomatic tool. Solar, wind, and hydropower could help us all gain a little bit of independence from the grid. Our houses and our monthly budget could benefit a lot from solar energy.

By now, you might think that you’re reading the words of a socialist or an eco-Marxist. I assure you that’s not the case. I, myself, drive a six-cylinder vehicle. I’m to blame as well for having an unnecessarily large carbon footprint. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know a change must happen sooner or later. And I’m readying myself for it. The switch will happen sooner rather than later, even if it’ll mean that I have to pay a little more.

At the end of the day, one thing’s clear – if you’re looking forward to saving some money and doing your part in protecting our environment, then betting on public transport, alternative ways of getting from point A to point B, and buying a car that has a four-cylinder engine at the most will work wonders for you.

Yes, today, we must strongly consider the fact that there’s a viable replacement for displacement.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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