The rise of diesel - the continuing story

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http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,12389-1620585,00.html
DAS
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Who's laughing now? The day of the diesel is here
Once noisy and smelly, diesels are now so refined their ride
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Interesting article, too bad we don't have much choice with diesel on this side of the pond. They're pushing hybrids on us ignorants here.
cp

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"Interesting article, too bad we don't have much choice with diesel on this side of the pond. They're pushing hybrids on us ignorants here. "
I've always thought that a diesel was a better choice than a hybrid. The main advantage of hybrids is that they do get maybe 25% or so better mileage in the EPA tests. However, I've seen news reports where in the real world, that advantage is considerably less. It has something to do with how the EPA test is done and that it doesn't accurately reflect how hybrids behave in the real world. There were some hybrid owners and consumer groups that were after the EPA to change the testing method and I think the EPA was considering it.
The question for me comes down to for the actual extra MPG you can get with a hybrid, is it worth the extra cost and risk? By risk, I mean these cars have some unique components like the motors, batteries, etc, which are sole source and very expensive to replace. We really don't know too much about how long this stuff will last or what the repair costs will turn out to be. On the other hand, diesel is a proven technology that offers very long engine life and only gets better. For me, the hybrid just isn't worth it.
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On the third tentacle petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars still use a non-renewable(*) resource that's only going to continue to rise in cost. We need to push those technologies as far as they will go, add new complementary technologies (ceramic diesel hybrids with lithium batteries, anyone?), and gradually wean ourselves off fossil fuels.
(*) Yeah, I know about veggie-oil diesels, and ethanol, and hydrogen, and electric propulsion and all those fringe technologies. None of them is ready today to take over from fossil fuels, and each has positive and negative points. We need to work all of the above and keep an open mind about other options (conservation, public transport, other bizarre concepts) so our grandchildren don't have to deal with it in crisis mode.
Diesels have a bad rep in the US (except with their fans, myself included), and I'm very disappointed that my E320 wagon isn't a diesel with twice the milage of the gasoline engine. If MB gets their act together my next car will be a diesel, if they don't it'll be some Japanese hybrid at 3X the milage...
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Too bad we don't have the same choice as they do in Europe. Wouldn't mind a 60mpg car. Maybe when gas prices really cut into people's pockets here we'll get more informed about alternatives and forget about hybrids and demand the diesels they have in Europe. Though if I were to buy a new car now and were only concernced about money I'd buy a Chrysler Sebring or Chevy Malibu, they're selling them here for 13K CAD. Insane. Even if the transmission goes two years down the road it would still be much cheaper than buying some diesel. The ROI on new diesels here takes a bit too long.
cp
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William P. N. Smith wrote:

suggest you consider a C320CDI, 221 BHP, 510Nm, 7 speed Auto or a SLK320CDI Triturbo 0-60 in 5.3 seconds
Benz do modern diesels
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Triturbo just sounds cool.
.
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I'm more of a station wagon kinda guy, not looking for the high end of performance, more looking for milage and range. My E320 4Matic wagon has plenty of power, but 22-ish MPG is embarassing.

Yes, I know, but I want to buy one in the States, and AFAIK they are coming "eventually, maybe".
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22-ish MPG for that tank (I mean the car) is excellent.
cp
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Yeah, well I can get 28 on the highway if I drive 55, but that's hard to do. 8*) Strangely, the C-class wagon I got as a loaner got the exact same milage!
My point is that in the US we consider that "good for that car", but a modern diesel ought to get at least twice that, but I can't buy one!
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55mph in a 3.2? Good luck :-)

I wish I could buy one too, now that I've got a wife, a kid and a mortgage, I won't be buying anything new for a while. Though at 22mpg it's not really worth it financially to buy anything new just to save a couple of bucks on fuel, unless you drive a taxi. Though I wouldn't mind a nice new benz diesel just for the heck of it. They're a bit quiet though, I'd have to amplify the diesel sound :-)
cp
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Why has diesel been so popular in Europe and not in North America ? And now that diesel seems to be a viable alternative, why isn't GM and Ford not producing them? They probably have a token development program finance by the government looking for an "American solution". A solution that favors the big corporations today with complete disregard for the future of the country. From what I have been reading, I conclude that a) Diesel can be produced from a large variety of sources. b) Should be less expensive to produce. c) The latest engines give about 25% better gas mileage then gasoline engines d) Less pollution.
Diesel engines are today, more expensive but if produced at the same rate the price will came down.
What are the negatives of diesel ?
Some one is going to publish a book called "The politics of diesel"
Vlad
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Modern diesel engines require low-sulfur fuel, which is not (yet) available nationwide in the USA.
When it is (2006? 7?) things may change significantly.
Furthermore, there are the economics of diesel cars and the price of the fuel, tax rates on diesel cars and the fuel...
DAS
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On Fri, 27 May 2005 16:25:36 +0100, "Dori A Schmetterling"

And that has nothing to do with politics ???
Vlad

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Who said it doesn't?
Sorry it took a while - I have been travelling out of the country; no access to newsgroups on local internet connections, and I wouldn't make an expensive dial-up connection back to the UK just for this ...:-)
DAS
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Because fuel costs are significantly higher (~2X) in europe, and efficiency counts for something. Maybe when US fuel prices rise a bit we'll follow suit.
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Agreed, you took the words out of my mouth :)
I was considering a hybrid and slapped myself until I smartened up :)
I hear that after 8 years the battery has to be replaced in a hybrid, costing 8K-10K, it makes absolutely no financial sense to drive a hybrid unless you're a taxi driver. Even then the car will only last around 250K miles.
cp

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There was an article a few months ago in the Canadian motor club magazine trumpeting the virtues of the Toyota Prius hybrid. There are several being used in Victoria, British Columbia, and the savings in fuel over a year added up to CDN$500 compared with a 'standard' taxi (Ford Crown Vic?? they didn't say). Think about it. In conditions absolutely ideal for the hybrid technology, 24hrs a day of stop and go city traffic, the saving over a year was $500 (`0 litres of fuel give or take). How many litres worth of petroleum did it take to refine the several pounds of Cobalt in the battery?. How many non-hybrid cars did Toyota have to sell to make up the couple thousand dollars of loss per Prius? Between 1/2 and 3/4 of the life-cycle energy cost of an automobile are used up in it's manufacture. How long does a Prius last? As long as a Crown Vic or Lincoln Town Car?
I don't know, I'm just askin'.
John M., Sceptic '94 E320
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Did I say 250K miles? I meant kilometers. Actually the article mentioned that the hybrid taxi did 300,000km, NOTHING to write home about, nothing compared to the benz diesel taxis.

$500?? You sure it said that? Perhaps the regulars were propane, which is cheap... either way, hybrids are just a marketing scam to cash in on a trend. They should concentrate fuel cells or on that bacteria that is made up of 50% and can be used in diesel engines.
cp
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Here is the article:
http://www.ama.ab.ca/cgi-ebs/corporate_comm/westworld/westworld_articles.jsp?article b05ww_hottopics&link=cs_main
or
http://tinyurl.com/8gxfh
The taxi driver says he got 330k kms on his taxi. Toyota shipped it back to Japan for evaluation.
John M. replying to his own post
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