Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2021

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Car culture is a subculture that exists in which people value the aesthetic, cultural, or historical significance of certain vehicles, and who often use their own vehicle as a means of self expression. We assumed that car culture was a dominantly male subculture and wanted to evaluate whether gender in advertising was related to fuel efficiency. We wanted to see how each decade would differ in the terms of the number of gender targeted advertisements. We also wanted to see how fuel economies and marketing strategies changed over time. We also wanted to compare fuel economies of cars that were targeted to a specific gender audience. We based on research on the assumption that car culture in the United States is overwhelmingly male dominant. Our hypothesis was that vehicles in car culture that are predominantly advertised towards men will have lower fuel efficiency than the given CAFE standards each year. We selected twelve vehicles that have remained popular in American car culture and watched commercials for them from the 1970s to present day. Our study then coded these commercials and determined the target gender audience of each. We then found the fuel economy of each vehicle per year and were able to compare it with the set CAFE standards. Our major findings was that each vehicle selected was predominantly below the CAFE standards but they were not predominantly advertised to men. Advertising as a whole was measured to target a gender-neutral audience throughout than a specific gender. We were able to see that cars associated with car culture are generally below the CAFE standards and less fuel efficient.


Written for ES 400: Senior Seminar

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.