Apr 13, 2010

Jealous of Europeans? You are now!

Americans are all too familiar with gasoline engines. Our diesel engine experience is limited to big trucks, old Mercedes, and a handful of newer VW's. Yet we hear about this high mileage utopia called Europe, where stylish diesels are in every garage.

The message from car companies is "America isn't ready for diesel...we can't make cars that get high mileage...it's all too costly..." Without going to Europe, and hearing messages like these, we logically conclude European diesel cars exist from annonymous brands we've never heard of. Mythical companies shrouded in secret...wooooooh.

Let the truth shine in! Below are interesting links from your favorite car companies. Hopefully these are the cars we'll be driving in the near future.

Warning: the following may increase your desire to leave America.

Honda Civic w/ diesel engine getting 55mpg: http://www.honda.co.uk/cars/civic5door/#fullspecification

Subaru Outback w/ diesel boxer engine, getting 43mpg: http://www.subaru.co.uk/Subaru_co_uk/ViewMenu.qed?menuid=M0M0M1

Toyota Yaris w/ diesel getting 69mpg: http://www.toyota.co.uk/cgi-bin/toyota/bv/generic_editorial.jsp?deepLink=YA5_Specification_new&nodiv=TRUE&fullwidth=TRUE&edname=specSheet_YA5&carModel=Yaris&imgName=bv/CarChapter/YA5/Imagery/YA5_spec.jpg&zone=Zone%20YARIS&navRoot=toyota_1024_root

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a major difference in the emissions requirements between Europe and the U.S. It is this difference, and the costs associated with developing, and then EPA testing / certifying, the systems needed to meet these more stringent U.S. requirements, as well as the small potential pool of U.S. diesel passenger car buyers (no pump price advantage to mitigate the engine option purchase premium) that are the major hurdles to increased offerings of passenger diesels in the U.S. There is simply not enough profit potential for the manufacturers to develop U.S. market-only emissions control systems.
The few diesel emission control systems developed that are suited for the current U.S. requirements are not conducive to high biodiesel percentages. These systems were, by necessity, designed to reduce the by-products of petroleum diesel combustion, and they take advantage of the relatively high volatility of petrodiesel. High biodiesel percentage fuel does not have the same volatility and the systems don't work properly.
Do we eliminate or relax the diesel emissions requirements to such a point that the small number of high percentage biodiesel users can run high percentages, and allow the petrodiesel users cumulative emissions to go up? I believe the net result of that would be an increase in diesel / biodiesel emissions.
No, as much as I prefer high percentage biodiesel for my older diesel cars, I believe that 100,000 diesel vehice drivers at 5% biodiesel is preferable to 5,000 diesel drivers at B100.
Jonathan Bartlett
Cogito Ergo Soy