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Old 07-31-2013, 10:55 AM   #21
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On holiday in the UK at present and recently we hired a VW Golf diesel TDI with great performance, and over the 7 weeks and 2,300 miles we drove we averaged 56 mpg (that's US gallons). We are currently driving a much bigger car, Toyota Avensys, and after 700 miles it is averaging around 45 mpg.

If diesels ever make it to the US, electric and hybrid cars will have even tougher opposition. We see a few hybrids here but not nearly as many as we see back in the USA.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:58 AM   #22
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The only person I know in real life who owns an EV (and a hybrid) is an economics professor in the South.

We are always amazed when driving in Europe how tiny some of the cars are, which are not available in the US. I imagine a lot of them are diesels, too.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:15 AM   #23
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The only person I know in real life who owns an EV (and a hybrid) is an economics professor in the South.

We are always amazed when driving in Europe how tiny some of the cars are, which are not available in the US. I imagine a lot of them are diesels, too.


I can only imagine the mpg of the really small European cars. The Golf we hired is the 4th car up on the Enterprise Car Rental classes of rental cars, and is only a little smaller than our 2007 Prius. The Avensys is larger than the Camrys we used to own.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:18 AM   #24
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On holiday in the UK at present and recently we hired a VW Golf diesel TDI with great performance, and over the 7 weeks and 2,300 miles we drove we averaged 56 mpg (that's US gallons). We are currently driving a much bigger car, Toyota Avensys, and after 700 miles it is averaging around 45 mpg.

If diesels ever make it to the US, electric and hybrid cars will have even tougher opposition. We see a few hybrids here but not nearly as many as we see back in the USA.
Alan, diesels are making it back after GM's late 1970's fiasco with their converted V8 diesel engines. It's taken 30 years to get people to forget that mess. VW offers the new full size Passat sedan (made in the new Chattanooga, TN plant) along with the Golf and Jetta wagons and sedans which are assembled in Mexico or Europe.

BMW has had the 335 diesel here for a few years and MB has been selling diesel models continually since 1980 or earlier. Audi (really VW in some regards) has had the A4 - A7 model here for a few years. Porche has the diesel Cyanne SUV sold here.

This year, GM has introduced the diesel Cruze sedan and is selling it now (selected markets). It's very similar in size and performance to the Jetta and has an Italian 2.0 liter turbo-injected diesel engine.

So they are showing up, but only are about 2 - 3% of auto sales in the U.S. at the moment. Not a bad choice if you want performance and economy.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:20 AM   #25
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Thanks for the info, we'll definitely look for diesels next time we need a car. We've had many diesels rented here and in Europe over the last few years.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:47 AM   #26
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Passenger car diesels are becoming more and more accepted here in the U.S. since the engines have been refined to the point of almost no noticeable deisel clatter, the use of turbo charging to provide high torque at low RPMs, and the very clean exhaust emissions. In 2009, the Jetta diesel was awarded the "clean car of the year award" in the U.S.

Also, the EPA passed and completed the phase in of clean diesel fuel; less that 15 parts per million sulfur content vs 500 PPM or higher previously. Also, biodiesel is gaining popularity as an alternative fuel for these cars (as a blend in the newer ones).

So the auto landscape is changing in the U.S. with more hybrids, diesels, pure electrics, and even more efficient gasoline only alternatives available. It's all good!
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:11 PM   #27
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You are right it is Mercedes, which frankly explains some things like the limited capability. Although why BMW, who generally makes nice looking cars, came up with this design is a mystery.

The target is clearly the Volt, Leaf, and the Ford Fusion Energi. My friend has the Ford and she is pretty happy with it. Still the BMW like all the others is overpriced compared to a other cars in their class,with no real redeeming features other than the Greenness.
Yeah the Volt is over $40k and it's build quality and finish is more like a $20k car, I've heard.

But aren't there like tax credits and such to bring the price down on these things?

If it has things like bluetooth, HID and navigation (though the GPS built-ins are not that good, the built in screen in the center of the console could have other uses) included for the base price, then it may be viable.

If it's barebones for $42k, then after you get the various packages, it's probably more like $50-55k?

That's a lot for basically a commute car.

Then again, most people will be fine with the 100 mile range for daily driving but will people pay up to $60k (after taxes and fees) for a commute car?

Not exactly a LBYM choice, is it?
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:20 PM   #28
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Passenger car diesels are becoming more and more accepted here in the U.S. since the engines have been refined to the point of almost no noticeable deisel clatter, the use of turbo charging to provide high torque at low RPMs, and the very clean exhaust emissions. In 2009, the Jetta diesel was awarded the "clean car of the year award" in the U.S.

Also, the EPA passed and completed the phase in of clean diesel fuel; less that 15 parts per million sulfur content vs 500 PPM or higher previously. Also, biodiesel is gaining popularity as an alternative fuel for these cars (as a blend in the newer ones).

So the auto landscape is changing in the U.S. with more hybrids, diesels, pure electrics, and even more efficient gasoline only alternatives available. It's all good!
I've also driven a lot of rented diesels in Europe. Good mileage and performance, especially on the low end.

But I've heard diesel trucks implicated in respiratory problems of children living near Long Beach port, which gets a lot of truck traffic.

Maybe commercial trucks doesn't have the stringent emissions standards as cars?

In the past, there's been talk about clear diesels but the fuel apparently costs more to make.

Some are pushing for natural gas cars, because with the fracking revolution, natural gas is cheap, unless you happen to live near the sites where they drill and get your water contaminated.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:32 PM   #29
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I've also driven a lot of rented diesels in Europe. Good mileage and performance, especially on the low end.

But I've heard diesel trucks implicated in respiratory problems of children living near Long Beach port, which gets a lot of truck traffic.

Maybe commercial trucks doesn't have the stringent emissions standards as cars?

In the past, there's been talk about clear diesels but the fuel apparently costs more to make.

Some are pushing for natural gas cars, because with the fracking revolution, natural gas is cheap, unless you happen to live near the sites where they drill and get your water contaminated.
Emissions for truck engines are regulated by EPA but have been less stringent than for cars. That is changing and will continue to do so. Truckers are notorious for removing pollution control devices from their engines.

There is no additional real cost to make diesel from crude oil other than the addition of a lubricity additive and the application of federal and state taxes, which are higher than for gasoline (politics involved). A barrel of crude oil makes a bit less diesel fraction than gasoline, but gasoline has more final additives. It's a number game and taxes rule out in the end.

Natural gas powered vehicles have been around for a long time (buses, commercial vehicles, etc). Honda has been selling a Civic that is natural gas powered. What missing for mass use are filling stations and ways to deliver liquid natural gas to those locations.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:51 PM   #30
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Right, and the EV makers are trying to work on an infrastructure of charge stations while there is no similar movement for natural gas.

Instead, natural gas may be more for replacing coal in electricity generation.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:05 PM   #31
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Right, and the EV makers are trying to work on an infrastructure of charge stations while there is no similar movement for natural gas.

Instead, natural gas may be more for replacing coal in electricity generation.
Yes, the task of developing an infrastructure for U.S. refueling of natural gas vehicles is decades away as it would have to be privately funded. The process has been slow, but it is gaining momentum. Here is a map of CNG locations in the states:

CNG Stations | Refueling | Prices | Map

And yes, power plants are moving to NG fuels, especially in the area of plants that have peak load increasing capabilities as they can ramp up an additional generator quickly with NG vs. coal.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:07 PM   #32
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Now that Chrysler is owned by Fiat, I would think they would take advantage of Fiat's knowledge of diesel engines to equip some of their American cars with these engines. As far as I know, Chrysler does not offer a hybrid. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I was a former Chrysler guy and would love to see them succeed. One of the best cars I ever owned was a '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:11 PM   #33
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The other thing, which I'm not sure will ever take, is self-driving cars.

Supposedly the cars will communicate with each other and park themselves, show up when summoned from your smart phone as needed.

So there won't be traffic jams and thus, fuel efficiency will increase.

People invest so much money and sometimes self worth into cars that I wonder if they'd be content just to be passengers, to have cars become conveyances for getting from point A to B and little else.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:20 PM   #34
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Now that Chrysler is owned by Fiat, I would think they would take advantage of Fiat's knowledge of diesel engines to equip some of their American cars with these engines. As far as I know, Chrysler does not offer a hybrid. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I was a former Chrysler guy and would love to see them succeed. One of the best cars I ever owned was a '96 Plymouth Grand Voyager.
Ask and you shall receive: in 2014 Chrysler will offer a diesel in the Ram and a 9 speed transmission in the jeep:

Chrysler to introduce new diesel engine, 4x4 system, and 9-speed transmission across its range - NY Daily News
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:24 PM   #35
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The other thing, which I'm not sure will ever take, is self-driving cars.

Supposedly the cars will communicate with each other and park themselves, show up when summoned from your smart phone as needed.

So there won't be traffic jams and thus, fuel efficiency will increase.

People invest so much money and sometimes self worth into cars that I wonder if they'd be content just to be passengers, to have cars become conveyances for getting from point A to B and little else.
I'm sure it being worked on somewhere.....(self driving cars)
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #36
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The other thing, which I'm not sure will ever take, is self-driving cars. ...
Interesting, but that is a big step, with lots of liabilities.

Heck, I'd be happy if we got 'smart traffic lights'. It sure seems that so many times the light is red, holding up some cars when there is zero cross traffic. Then, just as some cross traffic approaches, the light turns and makes them stop. We've got some busy intersections around here with cameras, and often the left green arrow is far too short to allow the backed up traffic to get through. And if there is no one in the left turn lane, it's a waste to make others wait.

I wonder how much gas and time that would save. Could be safer too, as people really push to get through that green/yellow/"honest officer, it was yellow when I entered the intersection"-red left turn arrow.

-ERD50
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:33 PM   #37
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In this area (Texas), I have only seen a few pure electric cars on the road since they became available. I have seen a few Volt's, one Leaf and no Telsa's. Hybrids are all over the place and I mainly see Toyota and GM brands (Prius, Yukon). Ford must be late to the party around here. But boy, do we have the pickup's!
Pure electrics are pretty impractical in mostly rural areas when you often have to drive 50+ miles each way to conduct your business. And until they can get well over 100 miles in a charge and can recharge most of their battery power in a few minutes or less -- at a relatively affordable price point after enough people pay the "early adopter tax" -- they will remain that way.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:04 PM   #38
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Interesting, but that is a big step, with lots of liabilities.

Heck, I'd be happy if we got 'smart traffic lights'. It sure seems that so many times the light is red, holding up some cars when there is zero cross traffic. Then, just as some cross traffic approaches, the light turns and makes them stop. We've got some busy intersections around here with cameras, and often the left green arrow is far too short to allow the backed up traffic to get through. And if there is no one in the left turn lane, it's a waste to make others wait.

I wonder how much gas and time that would save. Could be safer too, as people really push to get through that green/yellow/"honest officer, it was yellow when I entered the intersection"-red left turn arrow.

-ERD50
Stupid "smart-lights" are one of my pet peeves. We often traverse a 6 or 7 mile stretch of coast road (no substitute available). It often takes 20 to 25 minutes - primarily because of the "stupid-smart-lights". One day, as happens occasionally on our island, the power went out in a wide area and all the lights were down (no flashing red lights at every intersection - just dead!) Traffic regulated itself. No one was stuck at a cross street ( they simply blended when there was an opening.) Folks didn't suddenly slow to a crawl. They just drove and blended. It was a beautiful thing. Total travel time was less than 15 minutes. So if "god" (or the crumbling infrastructure) can improve travel times, think what traffic engineers could do to improve things. Imagine the fuel savings when folks aren't playing stop-light-grand-prix. YMMV
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:14 PM   #39
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Passenger car diesels are becoming more and more accepted here in the U.S. since the engines have been refined to the point of almost no noticeable deisel clatter, the use of turbo charging to provide high torque at low RPMs, and the very clean exhaust emissions. In 2009, the Jetta diesel was awarded the "clean car of the year award" in the U.S.

Also, the EPA passed and completed the phase in of clean diesel fuel; less that 15 parts per million sulfur content vs 500 PPM or higher previously. Also, biodiesel is gaining popularity as an alternative fuel for these cars (as a blend in the newer ones).

So the auto landscape is changing in the U.S. with more hybrids, diesels, pure electrics, and even more efficient gasoline only alternatives available. It's all good!
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Volkswagen Jetta TDI

Exciting stuff, but when looking at overall low emissions, diesels still can’t compete with hybrids. It’s a big milestone for a diesel to pass California’s Tier 2, Bin 5 standards, but that’s still only about average for a new vehicle. Meanwhile, the squeakiest of squeaky-clean standards is the SULEV, reserved for the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and a handful of other vehicles including the conventional version of the Volkswagen Jetta.
I'd still rather have a hybrid for mileage and emissions. Even though diesels can offer high mpg, in general diesel emissions are 15-20 times that of ICE engines, so choose carefully if emissions are a consideration. YMMV
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:43 PM   #40
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, in general diesel emissions are 15-20 times that of ICE engines, so choose carefully if emissions are a consideration. YMMV
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
Not for any diesel automobiles sold in the U.S. since 2009 when the standards changed. They now meet Tier II BIN 5 standards like all gasoline vehicles.

Plus, PM emissions for gasoline cars are on the horizon for particulates and that will mean particulate filters and regen cycles, lowering MPG.

VW Jetta TDI meets Tier 2/Bin 5 emissions standard - Rumor Central

Volkswagen's 2009 Jetta TDI Clean Diesel Awarded Green Car of the Year
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