please, there is no conspiracy

guys, like you, i prefer the older cars
however, older cars did not need to meet modern emissions standards.
i was in california last year for a miata meet (i have three...) a young kid told me he put a turbo in his, as his 94 miata only needed to meet OBD1 rules and each successive year, emissions standards tightened up, making it harder to pass smog, esp with a turbo and the necessary enrichment.

as for the VX. I love this model

i remember and still have the original car and driver articles explaining how the VX motor worked. It was a lean-b7rn engine---rather than run stoichiometric 14.3:1 (approx), it ran LEAN under low-load situations (under 2200rpm if I recall). This, by definition, improves fuel economy by 50% but increases NOx emissions, which, on a 1.5L motor, still allowed the VX to squeeze in under emissions standards for the 92-95 period. AFTER 1995, NOx standards tightened up................and the VX motor's VTEC-E lean-burn motor was NO LONGER LEGAL.

ie, emissions standards resulted in the efficiencies of lean-burn to become illegal. as NOx emissions rose too high. for the record, NOx emissions are rated in grams per mile driven, so lean-burn only worked on small motors to begin with.

honda used other trick: closing one of the intake valves during low-rpm operation to increase turblence/swirl to increase torque and aid combustion. low rolling resistance tires, forged alloy 13" wheels, super-wide ratio 5 speed transmission to keep rpm low even at highway speeds.

as for the original post, installing larger diameter wheels is a defacto means of increasing the economy of your car but causing your vehicle to travel 2-10% further per engine rpm, so the poster is wrong, installing larger diameter wheels/tires WILL effectively increase your real-world fuel economy.

to my knowledge, the VTEC-E in 3 cylinder 1.0L form was installed in the original honda insight, also.