Positive Post of the Day: More Diesels for America Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Just be prepared to pay for them. Audi USA honcho Johan De Nysschen explains to Automotive News [sub] that “there certainly is a price premium [for diesel offerings], which we are partially recovering but not totally.” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler adds, “I think the problem is that we don’t really have an honest discussion.” So here it is, America: Audi’s going out on a limb so that you can enjoy some of the finest oil-burners Europe has to offer. Now it’s up to us to buy tons of them at exorbitant prices so that Audi doesn’t look stupid for taking the risk. That’s just how these things work, America. Now go grab those checkbooks and start learning about the difference between low-sulfur diesel and ultra-low-sulfur diesel. And don’t forget to refill that urea tank!

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Stuki Stuki on Sep 17, 2009

    As much as worrying over a relatively moderate price premium on a diesel car may be overblown, diesel's supposed "environmental benefit" is even more speculative. Diesels give higher miles per gallon, but at the same time emit more co2 per gallon burned, as its more energy dense. On balance, you still get a few more miles per amount of co2, but the difference is substantially less than mpg figures would indicate. Balancing this small decrease in CO2 emissions, is increased emissions of genuinely nasty particulates. Only the very latest diesel engines have reduced these to levels sane people, as opposed to Europeans, would even consider putting up with. The newest engines are good, but the particle filters kill some of their efficiency, further reducing their advantage in CO2 output per mile. The filter also needs regular replacement, which I'm sure is no sweat for the "upscale enviro" crowd that clamor for these things when new, but I suspect once the cars are cheap old junkers, they'll revert to their stinky inner self. In Europe some people even take the filter off brand new cars, to gain a few extra mpg and a few horsepower. That's what happens when the buyer mix expands to include regular people on tight budgets, as opposed to exclusively fashion conscious (sub)urbanites. In addition, there are plenty of towns where gas is easily available at reasonably sanitary pumps, but where diesel is both harder to come by, and is only sold at pumps catering to commercial users. Leaving you waiting in soot smell hell, in the midst of big, noisy machinery, in your new Euro fashion buggy. Upscale urban filling stations with clean diesel pumps catering primarily to Jet Ski tovers and greenies, are not the norm in all places in the US. Unlike on the if-it-smells-spray-some-perfume-on-it continent, where passenger cars burning diesel is more common, and the diesel infrastructure is more like the gas infrastructure everywhere.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Sep 17, 2009

    Most US diesel new cars and trucks are sold immediately, and have tiny inventories, esp. the German imports. VW and others are ambitious to increase their sales here, and the easiest way to achieve this is to substantially increase their allocation of diesel vehicles in the US, and price them competitively to their gas equivalents, and not ask for $10k more, as with some domestic Diesel Full Size Trucks!!!

  • Kornjd Kornjd on Sep 18, 2009

    The reason that the Touareg, Q7, X5, and ML diesels use Urea injection is due to weight. If the Tiguan came in diesel, it would require Urea. The Jetta and forthcoming new Golf get away with particulate filters as compacts. The diesel particulate filter is self cleaning and is not designed to be replaced on an interval basis.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Sep 18, 2009

    @ stuki Euro 4 (1998 I think) & 5 (2005) diesels don't emit anything like the particulates you seem to be indicating. you still get a few more miles per amount of co2 You might like to peruse through this site. Unfortunately I can't give you a direct comparison link, but configure it to give you "Any" CO2 range, VW as the make, 5 Doors and 2.0-2.5L as the engine size. Sort it by grams of CO2/km to see the relative values.