The increase in size of pickup trucks is the topic of a long article in the Wall Street Journal by a reporter who, as a pedestrian in a parking lot, almost got run over by such a truck. The Journal reports, "The average pickup on the road gained 1,142 pounds between 1990 and 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and 730 pounds since 2000."
Buried somewhere in the middle of the story is an explanation: "In 2011, a change in the way the feds calculate vehicle fuel economy (the so-called 'footprint rule') gave domestic truck makers incentive to go big."
The president of the United States in 2011 was Barack Obama, a Democrat, and the vice president was Joe Biden. You have to be paying really close and careful attention to see past the way the left-leaning conventional press reports these issues. Here, for example, is the start of a New York Times article that ran under the headline, "Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a deal With California":
WASHINGTON — Four of the world's largest automakers have struck a deal with California to reduce automobile emissions, siding with the state in its fight with President Trump over one of his most consequential regulatory rollbacks.
In coming weeks, the Trump administration is expected to all but eliminate an Obama-era regulation designed to reduce vehicle emissions that contribute to global warming. California and 13 other states have vowed to keep enforcing the stricter rules, potentially splitting the United States auto market in two.
Note the language in the Times article: "designed to reduce vehicle emission." The word "designed" is about the intention of the regulation, not the actual results or consequences. I don't doubt that the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency was trying to reduce emissions, but I also don't doubt that the lobbyists and lawyers for the car and truck companies figured out a way to sell lots of big trucks anyway.
For additional FutureOfCapitalism coverage related to this topic, please see the earlier posts "Compliance Vehicles" and "How Regulation Killed the Station Wagon and Created the Minivan."