When will we have Euro Diesels?

Posted By on April 28, 2006

BIODZL Rich's JettaAmericans really need to open their eyes to what the rest of the world already knows … new diesels are clean, quiet, powerful and fuel efficient. Hopefully its the ‘fuel efficient’ part that resonates as fuel prices top $3.00/gallon. As for the clean part, the the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and biodiesel being implemented this year will help solve that concern. Currently American diesel fuel (D2) containing 30 times more polluting sulfur than European fuels but that is about to change come October of this year. Matt Vella in the auto section of Businessweek does an outstanding job of writing a pro-diesel article and showcases several advanced diesels being sold in Europe. Hopefully more Americans will be open to learning what Europeans already know … diesel vehicles can be clean, powerful and efficient AND that gasoline/hybrids are not the only game in town.

I’ll start with my favorite vehicle since its a ‘relative’ to my Volkswagen TDI … the Audi A6. Its pricey but a well engineered automobile with a bunch of the creature comforts missing from my little car.

Audi A6
Audi A6 – Price: $44,492 – $58,730
Diesel Fuel Economy: 47 (US MPG)/56.5 (UK MPG)

And just because Ford and GM aren’t building diesel cars in the US, doesn’t mean that they don’t know what they are doing. Take a look at the Ford Mondeo and GM’s Opel divisions Vectra. Nice!

Ford Mondeo
Ford Mondeo – Price: $27,000 – $43,500
Diesel Fuel Economy: 51.1 (US MPG)/61.4 (UK MPG)

Opel Vectra
Opel Vectra – Price: $29,295 – $43,033
Diesel Fuel Economy: 50 (US MPG)/60.1 (UK MPG)

The French automobile designers aren’t sitting still either; Peugeot has a sexy looking diesel that would surely turn a few heads here in North America.

Peugeot 407
Peugeot 407 – Price: $26,695 – $39,464
Diesel Fuel Economy: 35.8 (US MPG)/43 (UK MPG)

Now the Citroen is a bit pricey for my taste, but offers luxury and performance that still gets and estimated 41MPG! Show me a hybrid of this size that can take on the Autobahn and can keep pace with even the biggest German BMW and Mercedes Benz diesels.

Citroen C6
Citroen C6 – Price: $52,500 – $67,628 [Est.]
Diesel Fuel Economy: 41 (US MPG)/49 (UK MPG)

And not to be left out, the Japanese who lead in quality have a midsized Toyota Avensis that could give Camry drivers the kind of economy ‘only’ possible with diesel power.

Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis – Price: $24,906 – $39,464
Diesel Fuel Economy: 39.2 (US MPG)/47.1 (UK MPG)

Let’s get some of these on the boat … “they’re not your father’s 1980 diesel Oldsmobile.”

EDIT: I sent a letter to the editor of Businessweek that published these MPG numbers in hopes of clarification. I hope that in time North American drivers will recognize that high tech diesels make even more sense in North America than in Europe. Hybrids vehicles perform well in urban settings and on short commutes, BUT are superior for longer distance and out on the open road. It doesn’t take a rocket sciencist to recognize than North America is connected by interstate highways and that we drive far more highway miles a year than they do in Europe. That’s a significant point … evaluate the kind of driving you do and recognize where gasoline powered cars and hybrids fall short. On the highway diesels are fuel sippers … especialy when running clean, renewable, domestically grown and produced BIODIESEL.

4/29/2006 – Corrections made to the above post (Thanks Eric)

Thanks very much for your sharp eyes and kind words. You are indeed right—the author used Imperial gallons. We have now changed the story to reflect both US and UK measurements.
It’s great to have readers like you!

Charles S. Dubow, Director – Businessweek.com
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020


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