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Why do today's speedometers go to 160?

Don't Waste Your Money

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We're all familiar with inflation: Rising prices at the grocery store, fast food restaurants, and other places.

But this year there's a new type of inflation some car buyers are noticing: It concerns the speedometers on new cars.

Are Today's Cars Really Faster?

Today's new cars get much better gas mileage than those of a decade ago, and are much safer too.

But do they really go that much faster?

The Detroit Free Press writes that many new car speedometers now max out at 160 to 180 miles per hour.

That's up from 110 a few years ago, and just 85 miles per hour back during the 1980s. 180? That's NASCAR speed.

The report says it gives drivers the mistaken illusion their cars are incredibly powerful, even though most passenger cars are set to max out at 110, for safety reasons.

Doesn't That Stink?

And from the "doesn't that stink" file, why police say these new speedometers lead to speeding.

Remember those old 85 mph speedos? The 55 mark -- the old double nickel -- used to be highlighted, so that if you drove over 70 you felt reckless.

Nowadays, 70 looks slow on many dashboards: Doesn't that stink?

It's not even at the halfway mark.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with a speedometer that shows 160 when a car can't possibly go 160.

But some consumer groups call it false advertising, and worry it encourages people to drive at excessively high speeds.

As always, don't waste your money.

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