2013 Ford F-150 King Ranch interior

Last week, I saw a comment over on Jalopnik that I think really captured the nature of the American automotive market.

Note that the F-150, Silverado, and Ram are the three best-selling new vehicles in the US, and the crew cab 5.5-foot bed variants are everywhere as people’s daily drivers.

However, I saw an article on Green Car Congress discussing trends in fuel efficiency, power, weight, and footprint over time, and I noticed an interesting thing on the graph: the vehicle weight line.

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Average vehicle weight has, since about 2004, held right around 1975 levels, after having declined sharply from 1976 to 1980, plateaued until 1987 (when CAFE was relaxed the first time), and then slowly rose to 2004's levels.

Is this a sort of natural equilibrium in what American consumers want - enough wanting heavy vehicles that the average weight will stick around 4000 lbs, and people will move to trucks to get their heavy vehicles if need be?