Diesel passenger cars - Why don't we want the diesel?  -  Roaming Times

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Why don't we want the diesel?
More than half of ALL cars sold in Europe are diesel...

See reader's comments and experiences at bottom of page

Volkswagen-Audi turbo diesel engine
Volkswagen-Audi turbo diesel
 

Diesel engines - apart from a brief period during the 1970's fuel crisis - have never really been popular for passenger cars in the USA.  In Europe, Volkswagen is the biggest car company and 60% of all Volkswagen cars sold in Europe were diesel. This is not just a German or a Volkswagen thing; more than half of ALL cars sold in Europe are diesel.  This includes Mercedes, BMW, Toyota - even the Mini Cooper comes in a diesel version. And as we read from recent responses, even the smart car comes as a diesel in Canada.

Why?  It's an "eco-taxation" thing - diesel vehicles produce lower CO2, HCs and NOX emissions; therefore the fuel tax has been set consistently lower for diesel road fuel than for gas in most of Europe since the early 90s. 

So, why haven't diesel powered cars become popular in the US - apart from taxation reasons?

  • Diesels are heavier

  • A diesel engine usually costs more than a gas engine for the same power

  • They're noisier

  • Diesel fuel is less readily available than gas

The big advantages are better fuel mileage and longer engine life.  Fuel is much more expensive in Europe of course (once again because of taxation) and who cares about engine life if you only keep the car for a couple of years?

In further praise of the diesel, advances in diesel technology mean that this is no longer the same noisy smelly beast that turned Americans off in the 1970s.

There are plenty of diesel powered trucks and RVs of course in the US.  But passenger cars?
Maybe there are more reasons for and against diesels for passenger cars - what do you think?

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