Apparently, one of the key tests the EPA uses to formulate gasoline to reduce vehicle emissions is to run a 1985 BMW for 10,000 miles. Because everyone knows that when they go down the highway, you can't swing a dead cat out the window without hitting a 26 year old bimmer.
Here is some information on these cars; while the engine is fuel injected, evidently the BMW engineers were scrambling even then to meet emissions requirement, and with a mighty 100 horsepower or so, suffice it to say that keeping it going at highway speeds is going to take it into the range where it's not exactly going to be burning as cleanly as it ought.
So if you wonder why gasoline costs so much, part of the problem is that the EPA is doing its gasoline tests on beater cars from the 1980s which went about 35-45 mph up I-70 to Eisenhower Tunnel in those bleak days. Evidently they can't find, say, a ten year old Camry around DC.
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