Folks often ask me, “what’s the ‘greenest’ car?” This is one of my favorite questions, because it can spur deeper conversation. Some people are shocked when I reply that the ‘greenest’ car is a recycled car. “Wait a minute,” comes the typical response, “a used car … for real?”
They often expect that I would answer with “oh, a (insert the most common name here) hybrid or an electric car (like the one that’s caught the tech world’s fancy that real world folks can’t afford).” Truth be told, 40 mile per gallon (MPG) cars are nothing new. You can find a ten or fifteen year old Honda Civic HX or Volkswagen TDI on eBay that will get 40 MPG on the highway. The older VW Jetta, Golf, Passat, and Beetle TDIs can even run on 100 domestic renewable biodiesel. Vintage Mercedes-Benz diesels can run on biodiesel as well, and they can all be converted to run on recycled fryer grease. There are great bargains to be found on fuel-efficient Saturns, too …
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an old fryer-grease-powered Mercedes-Benz. All my friends slobber over Teslas, I must make amends …
MPG-o-Matic 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI Review Summary:If you’ve ever dreamed of a fuel-efficient clean diesel convertible, those dreams just came true. The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI is the most fuel-efficient – and only diesel – ragtop offered for sale in the USA today. When equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, it delivers a driving experience unlike anything else on the road. The joy of heavy pedal rapid-fire 3000 RPM shifts coupled with light-footed fuel-stingy glides is positively splendid. While the back seat is tight and the styling is not everyone’s cup of tea, the Beetle TDI delivers competently.
While it’s slow going, the revival of the American economy can be clearly linked to the renewed strength of our domestic automobile industry. At a rally yesterday at Cuyahoga County Community College in Ohio supporting President Obama, Bruce Springsteen gave thanks that General Motors is still making cars, remarking ”What else would I write about?”
That quote got me thinking about the wealth of automotive imagery in Bruce’s songs over the years, dating all the way back to his very first album, Greetings From Asbury Park. There’s The Angel’s mention of VW – “The interstate’s choked with nomadic hordes in Volkswagen vans with full running boards dragging great anchors,” and the pure American brother in Lost in the Flood, “dull-eyed and empty-faced, race(ing) Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight.” Continue reading →
Think all hybrid cars are slow? Think again. Volkswagen has set a production car land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah with a modified 2013 Jetta Hybrid averaging 186.313 MPH over two runs on October 5th.
The Jetta Hybrid’s record-setting effort in the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) H/PS class topped a 185.394 MPH run made in August. (The H/PS class covers production cars using 1.5 liter forced induction engines.) While modifications were limited by class rules, horsepower output was significantly enhanced.