50-MPG Cars Are Closer Than We Think
Clean diesel proves fossil fuels aren't worth abandoning just yet.
We can’t really blame the media for calling out President Barack Obama on his claims that 50-mpg cars were rolling off of American assembly lines. After all, it’s the job of the press to make sure that politicians toe the truth line at all times. Unfortunately, we think the row over the commander in chief’s mileage claims was a bit misplaced. You see, while American consumers are used to thinking of any fossil-fuel-economy number of more than 40 mpg from a nonhybrid vehicle as impressive, the truth is that automakers from around the globe are more than capable of reaching the magic 50 mpg line with technology available right now.
One need look no further than the surprisingly efficient and powerful 2.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine available in the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen. The Environmental Protection Agency rates that family-sized vehicle at 42 mpg highway. That’s a solid number, but during some time behind the wheel of the 2010 model last year, we saw well over 46 mpg at speeds of more than 70 mph.
The diesel VW has been well-received in the U.S. for obvious reasons. The wagon is stylish, offers 236 lb-ft of torque and has room for everyone and their luggage. What you may not know is that Volkswagen isn’t the only manufacturer that builds a highly efficient diesel vehicle -- it’s just the only one that managed to brave the government’s web of red tape to sell it in all 50 states.
Ford, for example, sells a diesel-powered Focus in the U.K. capable of returning fuel economy in the upper 40s to lower 50s right now, but lingering American perceptions of diesels as both dirty and noisy keep carmakers shy of offering oil-burning wares in our market. Throw on legislation specifically tilted against the diesel cause and the cost of bringing those engines to the U.S. is beyond prohibitive.
So should we be mad that the president misspoke during his speech, or furious that legislators and automakers refuse to embrace a perfectly viable technology that’s both easy on the environment and commercially viable right now?
We say both.
P.S. the Focus diesel gets 70+ mpg TODAY in Europe, and a lot of other diesels get more. Try to get one over here and IF they let you by the time you pay for all the "Emissions Control" work done you will get under 50MPG!
You want high MPG? Get the .gov out of the pockets of the oil companies and the banks and other corporations and you will, till then the Fascist government here will continue to rape us all until they have to bury this country for the stink.
All I know is that I traded a taurus with similar dimensions for an 09' Jetta Diesel loaded paying approx 27k. It now has 63k miles on it and mpg keep getting better. the added price of diesel (~.30/gal in my area) is well within a healthy payback timeframe for justifying the added cost. I also have plenty of people around here that have 400k+ miles on their diesels and still going strong!
No -- why be mad at President Obama? He didn't lie. Per the article, he was speaking the truth. Just be upset he didn't go one step further -- i.e., demand that Congress eliminate barriers to high-mileage diesel version of consumer cars.
As far as political pundits claiming Pesident Obama misspoke -- yeah, be mad at them. Clearly, those know-it-all pundits didn't do their homework!
Maufacturers doing biz' here roll out improvements graduallly, and even then, only when forced to do so by California or the feds. My 2000 Honda Insight gets 53 because Gore and Clinton pushed the makers.
Lest you forget, the big makers crushed Tucker when he rolled out a bevy of landmark improvements at once.
If we want 70 mpg, while cleaner and safer, we need only back those pols that would force the makers to make those cars.
Is that why all the German diesel inventories in the U.S. are sold out?!? Ha. Do you know how long the waiting list for BMW 535d is? I do suggest you find out.I would assume it's pretty long since they don't sell that car here. I think you meant 335d. Sorry to be picky.
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