The Case for Clean Diesel Jerome ID

While Toyota has been raking in the big bucks with its hybrid car, the Prius , VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi have been in their collective workshops prepping to be the first to bring ‘clean’ diesel engines to the U.S. Changes have been made from the fuel refinement process all the way to emissions control at the tailpipe, equating to a more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious ride.

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The Case for Clean Diesel

The Case For Clean Diesel By Alison Lakin, Associate Editor

I tend to think of ecological automotive solutions like weight loss. Or, rather, attempts at weight loss. Diets are a temporary fix, which can help you shed those five pounds in time for your 10-year reunion, but come six months later, you’ll be right back where you started, if not worse off. Instead, long-term and steady solutions work best - which happen to be the most agonizing way of doing things.





Our car market is currently reading up on some potential diets now that the gluttonous SUV binge is coming to an end. We’re looking into the electric vehicle starvation technique, the hydrogen crash diet and the compressed natural gas fast. All are helpful in cutting down on America's oil consumption, but aren’t as quick as, say, the Cabbage Soup Diet thanks to a lack of infrastructure and popular support as well as a gaggle of other reasons.

What to do in the interim, while America prepares for its acceptance of these slow, but effective means of cutting down on gas consumption ? Ah, that’s where diesel comes in. We tried it once back in the ‘70s and it didn’t particularly sit well with us. For years now, it’s been a very European way of doing things. Think French Women Don’t Get Fat for the automotive set. But automakers have revisited the low-fat technology with some surprising developments.

While Toyota has been raking in the big bucks with its hybrid car, the Prius , VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi have been in their collective workshops prepping to be the first to bring ‘clean’ diesel engines to the U.S. Changes have been made from the fuel refinement process all the way to emissions control at the tailpipe, equating to a more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious ride.

Thanks to the Germans (how often is that line uttered?) you’ll have none of the stinky, loud and underpowered qualities found in models from the 1970s.

These 2009 models have emissions equal to those 35-plus mpg econoboxes and better than some hybrids even – but with double the amount of torque. As for the noise, strain your ears during acceleration and you may notice a slightly different engine note.

Unlike hybrids that shut off at a stop, diesels need to burn fuel while waiting at a light. No matter how much better the mileage is over gasoline-powered cars, diesel’s city mpgs can’t reach those hybrid levels yet. However, get one on the freeway and you have an impressive contender. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI , originally rated by the EPA at 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, was also third-party tested by AMCI at an even more fuel-efficient 38 city and 44 highway. Those numbers are right up there with the compact hybrid-electric cars on the road today, and this is all done without pounds of toxic batteries powering the vehicle, an issue with hybrids that has environmentalists worried.

An essential reason the...

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