Definitely not a “need” for it… 4 cyclinder engines can clearly get the job done (even 3 cylinders I’m hearing these days!!!) but people demand “more power,” “gimme speed!” It’s a cultural thing… we like to be the baddest, the fastest, the most powerful on the road. I think it will be phased out as people realize the toll this is taking on the environment (and in the long run, human health)… I think a 4 cyclinder engine could provide enough power for maybe 50 humans to get around — it’s just soo much overkill and the way everything is set up for individualized transport is really a wasteful shame — we will make the changes necessary though, when we switch over to a new transportation system altogether (in 2050)! (PS. I’m making that up — but not really, I’ve envisioned it, designed it, and actually seen something pretty close to it on Popular Science. So I guess, “We’ll have to wait and see!?”)
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