Lutz is Right: "Diesels Are Not the Answer"
During our recent audience with GM Car Czar Bob Lutz, Maximum Bob proclaimed "diesels are not the answer." While cynics might say that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, props to Bob for doing the math. Reuters reports the average price for a gallon of diesel has hit $4.06. It's as high as $4.60/gallon in places. As MB pointed out, "asking people to pay a 20 percent premium for a diesel engine and a 20 percent premium at the pump makes no sense at all." True dat. Without huge gains in fuel economy over regular gasoline counterparts, manufacturers are going to have a hard time getting people to switch to diesel-powered propulsion. The next step: the feds intercede to drive down the cost of diesel and diesel cars, as they are doing with ethanol and E85-compatible vehicles. And then high mileage U.S. oil burners will fly off the showroom floor. [Note to Bob: will GM be ready?] Lest we forget, $4.00/gallon diesel has a huge impact on our truck-based shipping infrastructure. And that could be a BIG problem… News of an April first trucker's strike to follow.
So let’s get this strait. Hybrids rule the roast in city driving... Diesels rule the roast in highway driving... Hybrid diesels would be the best of both worlds... and the big 2.8 need something to stomp on the Prius with? Hmmm... And on a 2nd note, diesels are not for everyone, but should we not at least be giving the option of driving one other than a VW? I personally would LOVE a Ford Ranger that got 30 mpg and could tow an elephant!
It's all a moot point, if there isn't enough diesel fuel to go around, though, isn't it? I suppose we could convince Jimmah Cahtah to get back into growing peanuts for oil.
Interesting article on the state of Diesel in the US. Diesels will pay for themselves quicker than a Hybrid will - and when you reach 10 years - no expensive battery replacement. http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2008/db20080321_748642.htm?campaign_id=yhoo
I think diesels ARE the short-term solution, or at least a better solution than hybrids, especially if bio-diesel is used. As for fuel economy: check out this article from 2006 showing the European diesels with the best fuel economy. At the top is the Audi A2 diesel, with a whopping 65 mpg city, 87 mpg highway. Five Diesels from Europe that will out-eco a Prius