I would guess it was the 1940s or maybe the 1950s. The little Model T got 25 mpg. After WWII when the soldiers came home and Detroit retooled to make cars again the big car was king. Gas was cheap and plentiful and Americans wanted to drive a boat on the new highways and freeways that were springing up. The 60s still saw big cars but not worse than the 50s.
In the 70s there was an energy “crisis” and cars got little again. Then in the 80s many cars got HUGE and so the 80s might be another decade of less efficiency than the preceding decade.
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