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]