"I have an advertisement in front of me extracted from the Daily Telegraph of 20 October 1983, four years after the revolution in Iran raised oil prices to the equivalent of $80 a barrel. After boasting about reaching a 'speed that's well above the legal limit' (the regulation of advertisements has improved a little since then), Peugeot claimed that its new 205 diesels 'are the world's first production cars to do over 72 miles per gallon at a steady 56mph'. This suggests, if true, that a car sold twenty-three years ago was 40 per cent more efficient than the best the mass market has to offer today: the Prius manages just 51 miles per gallon on highways. But the illegal speeds that Peugeot's 205 diesels could reach just aren't high enough for the freedom-seekers of the twenty-first century. Average fuel efficiency in the European Union has improved slowly: by 8 per cent since 1995. In the United States it has deteriorated. In 1988 the average mileage per gallon of cars and light trucks was 22.1. Today it is 20.8. This is 17 per cent worse than the Model T Ford, which - in 1908 - managed 25 miles to the gallon. The Ford Expedition, one of the best-selling lines today, achieves 15.5."