By BoLOBOOLNE payday loans

Diesel car options in the US: there aren’t many

My 14-year old Subaru is on its way out, and since I’m commuting to Kirkland almost every day I really need a new car.  Primary criteria for me are safety and fuel economy / ecological impact.  Safety seems to correlate very strongly with model year so I’m looking at new cars.  In theory running on bio-diesel gives your car essentially zero net carbon impact.  Also, many new renewable organic fuel sources seem to be more like diesel than gasoline.  So I looked at what diesel cars can be purchased new in the US these days.  I was amazed at how slim the choices are.  If you want a new diesel vehicle in this country, here are your choices…

  • Pickup trucks — many models, small and large
  • Full-sized vans — think church-group van or delivery van, not soccer-mom minivan
  • Mercedes — 3 models: E-class sedans, R-class station wagons, and GL-class or M-class SUVs.  All $45k+
  • Volkswagen Taureg 2 — VW’s SUV has a diesel option starting at $68k
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee — starting at $37k for diesel

Color me underwhelmed.  I might have missed something, but as far as I can tell there is exactly one non-SUV non-pickup diesel car on the market in this country: the Mercedes E-class.  Yowza.   Seriously, what gives?

In Europe, diesel cars are totally common-place.  While here we’re all abuzz about our fancy hybrids that can get 40+ mpg, Europeans can choose cars like the Citroen C4 which gets 46 38 mpg city and 71 59 mpg on the highway!  [Correction: These are per imperial gallon, which are 1.2 US gallons.]  I drove a Citroen (might even have been a C4) from Paris to Tuscany and back a couple of summers ago.  Let me assure you these are not stereotypically crappy French-engineered clunkers, but actually pretty nice cars, and not old-world tiny either. 

That number bears repeating.  71 59 miles per gallon on the highway.  When is this country going to get it together and raise the CAFE standards in a meaningful way and not just for show?  It’s for everybody’s good.

[Photo courtesy of Robert Candelori]

  1. Esenthal Prave says:

    I'm not sure what the hold-up is… maybe they have re-thought their stance on how this is going to actually make the company any money. Or perhaps their lawyers pointed out the liability of providing agents a platform to stick their feet in their mouth. Whatever it is, it's hardly something I'd claim as being "Well done".

  2. Ben Luebbers says:

    Jalopnik has a nice feature on two yet-to-be imported diesels, including jaw-dropping examples of ridiculously high mileage they got through normal highway driving. Gimme diesel baby!

    http://jalopnik.com/356497/hypermiling-the-2007-honda-civic-22-i+ctdi-and-2007-audi-q7-42-tdi

  3. gt1485a says:

    The new CAFE standards and unavailability of ultra low sulfur diesel have caused VW much heartache in terms of releasing the new diesels. They have pushed it out till Sept now. BTW when converting MPG in Europe you have to remember that the 1 UK gallon ~= 1.2 US gallons. So your 71miles/UKGal = 59 miles/USGal, nonetheless still impressive.

  4. leodirac says:

    Thanks. Apparently the markets are still working and acting to fill a gap that consumers like me demand.

    I suspect stiffer emissions regulations caused diesels to be pulled from the market for a while.

    I didn't realize these cars were coming to market and I appreciate y'all pointing it out. These 2008 TDI versions are expected to be available around Q2. So they don't show up in the car research databases I tried, presumably because you can't buy them yet.

  5. I think probably anything in their TDI line meets your needs. The new rabbits should be out soon, and there should be jetta, passat and gti tdi models available in the states.

  6. leodirac says:

    I didn't realize they were going to bring those back. Thanks for pointing that out! I've been trying to understand why VW stopped selling these because they are right in line with what I want.

  7. Geoff says:

    What about the VW Jetta Diesel wagon, like Heater has? Not an SUV.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/previews/12424/first-drive-2008-volkswagen-jetta-tdi.html

    – Geoff

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