Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Other Green Engine: Diesel

According to Forbes, the European automakers are starting to market diesel vehicles to America as an alternative to hybrid cars. Volkswagen is releasing a new diesel Jetta that will get 50 miles per gallon on the highway and 40 in the city. The other european automakers are following suit and according to J.D. Power & Associates forecasts, by 2017, 14% of cars sold in the U.S. will have diesel engines. BMW's Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said: "We realized that with the additional weight of a hybrid battery, the miles per gallon is not as good as we thought. We think the better solution at the moment is diesel."

The fuel ratings for the Jetta are on par with the Prius (actually better on the highway) but the performance is not. The Jetta will blow the Prius out of the water. Maybe we should be focusing our energy on making diesel cars more efficient and working on biodiesel which seems to be promising. It is strange to me that we have not already been looking at diesel cars in America. We have diesel gas and we have some relationship with Europe so what have we been doing? Why have the American car manufacturers, who manufacture some cars for the European market also, not noticed this? It seems yet again that American car companies are going to be behind the curve.

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