A gas guzzler is a car which has very low fuel economy, resulting in high gasoline consumption. Since some people are beginning to grow concerned about the long term viability of oil supplies, gas guzzlers are an issue which is frequently discussed. Because gas guzzlers consume more fuel, they can potentially produce more emissions as well, which is undesirable, especially in many Western nations which have enacted emissions standards for environmental reasons.
Generally, a gas guzzler is inefficient with fuel simply because it is very heavy. A heavier vehicle requires more fuel to run, as does a vehicle which is designed for high performance, like a sports car. Some gas guzzlers also have less than ideal fuel efficiency because their overall design is not very aerodynamic. Cars with strange protrusions or awkward body structures will generate more drag, causing a demand for more power to keep the car going.
Some of the more well known examples of gas guzzlers are trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Many older models of cars also consume a great deal of fuel, because they are heavy and they have bodies which are lacking in aerodynamic features. Sports cars can eat up a lot of fuel as well, since their engines are designed to produce a great deal of raw power. A muscle car can also be quite a gas guzzler, combining demands for high performance with a very heavy body.
In some countries, national governments have taken steps to encourage car manufacturers to produce cars with better fuel economy. Consumers are also encouraged through incentive programs which offer discounts, or penal programs like a gas guzzler tax which drives the cost of cars with low efficiency up. Many auto manufacturers have also engaged in experimental programs which play with other sources of energy, with the eventual goal of removing petroleum products from the process altogether.
There are some legitimate reasons to drive a gas guzzler. Farmers, for example, need heavy duty trucks for various farm chores and equipment handling. People who do a lot of heavy hauling, such as contractors, also require large, heavy vehicles. However, many gas guzzlers are designed for a different market; SUVs, for example, are meant to appeal to young urban professionals, who probably do not have an overwhelming need for these large, heavy, and sometimes dangerous vehicles. Some people who support fuel economy hope to change the social status of small, efficient cars to turn them into stylish, sought after items.