35 MPG: Why Wait Until 2020?

One of the keys to restarting the American economy is staring us in the face. While our future hinges on the rapid adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles, our government stands in the way of a rapid free market solution.

35 MPG can be an immediate reality, with one domestic manufacturer, if the United States government would only allow it to happen. Our elected representatives need to be aware of the facts and make the appropriate decisions.

Chrysler is uniquely positioned among the Big Three US automakers. Unlike Ford and General Motors, Chrysler is already building a slew of high-MPG diesel-powered vehicles right here in the United States.

Amazing as it may seem in these difficult times, Chrysler is not allowed to sell those cars domestically, due to recently tightened emissions regulations. With the exception of the domestically-available Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel, all of Chrysler’s North American manufactured high-MPG diesel-equipped vehicles are being shipped abroad.

Each and every one of Chrysler’s European models is available with a diesel engine, with the exception of the Dodge Viper. In fact, a diesel engine can be found under the hood of more than 50% of the vehicles that Chrysler sells in Europe.

All-in-all, a dozen Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep diesel-engined models are currently available outside of the United States, but are not sold domestically.

Here’s the eye-opener … half of those models currently achieve 35 miles per gallon combined.

That’s 35 MPG … right now.

And what’s even more crazy? All of these 35 MPG cars and SUVs are built in North American plants by North American workers … American citizens cannot buy and drive the fuel-efficient cars they build.

The thriftiest of the bunch delivers nearly 50 MPG on the highway … and it’s no dog off the line, turning in 0-62 mile per hour (MPH) times under nine seconds. The fastest in the pack delivers 7.6 second 0-62 times and 35.6 MPG on the highway.

Needless to say, these are wonderful world-class cars, a world apart from your Uncle’s noisy, slow, smelly 80’s-era diesel.

The Mercedes-Benz V6 diesel-equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee is the first US-built passenger vehicle to meet the tougher Federal emissions requirements. With the emissions work done on the Mercedes’ 3.0 liter engine, we expect the Chrysler 300 to be the next diesel-powered domestic, as it shares the same powerplant. (At present, diesel 300s are being built in Graz, Austria.)

Chrysler is using four different diesel engines, in all:

  • 2.0 liter Volkswagen turbo-diesel inline four (Avenger, Caliber, Compass, Journey, Sebring, Patriot)
  • 2.2 liter Mercedes-Benz inline four (PT Cruiser)
  • 2.8 liter VM Motari inline four (Cherokee, Grand Voyager, Nitro, Wrangler)
  • 3.0 liter Mercedes-Benz V6 (300, Commander, Grand Cherokee)

What if the federal government temporarily rolled back the emissions requirements for one or two years, to allow the sale of these fuel-sipping vehicles while Chrysler and its partners complete the engineering necessary to meet the current regulations?

Crazier schemes have been implemented to stimulate the economy, no doubt about that. But this one just might work … by spurring investment and putting people back to work.

As you ponder that thought, take a gander at a group of specifications that compare the European diesels with the most fuel-efficient engines in each of the US domestics …

Jeep Patriot Diesel

Plant: Belvedere, IL
Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel inline four cylinder engine, producing 138 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 11 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 2.4 liter I4/5-speed/2WD – more: Jeep Patriot Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Jeep Compass Diesel

Plant: Belvedere, IL
Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel inline four cylinder engine, producing 138 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 11 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 2.4 liter I4/5-speed/2WD – more: Jeep Compass Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Jeep Wrangler Diesel

Plant: Toledo, Ohio
Engine: VM Motori 2.8 liter common rail diesel four cylinder, producing 174 HP and 302 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 11.2 seconds (two door), 11.7 seconds (four door) when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 3.8 liter V6/6-speed/2WD)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Jeep Cherokee (aka: Liberty) Diesel

Plant: Toledo, Ohio
Engine: VM Motori 2.8 liter common rail diesel four cylinder, producing 161 HP and 295 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 11.2 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 3.7 liter V6/6-speed/2WD)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

(The 2.8 liter diesel engine was available in the domestic Jeep Liberty in the 2005 and 2006 model years.)

Jeep Commander Diesel

Plant: Jefferson North, MI
Engine: Mercedes-Benz 3.0 liter common rail diesel, producing 215 HP and 376 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 9.0 seconds when equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.

(Domestic: 3.7 liter/V6/5-speed Auto/2WD or 4.7 liter/V8/5-speed Auto/2WD)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Chrysler 300 Diesel

Plant: Brampton, Ontario & Graz, Austria (diesels)
Engine: Mercedes-Benz 3.0 liter common rail diesel, producing 215 HP and 376 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 7.6 seconds – Sedan (Saloon), 8.6 seconds – Wagon (Touring), when equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.

(Domestic: 2.7 liter V6/5-speed Auto)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Chrysler Grand Voyager (aka: Town & Country) Diesel

Plant: St. Louis (diesels)
Engine: VM Motori 2.8 liter common rail diesel four cylinder, producing 174 161 HP and 339 265 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 12 seconds when equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission.

(Domestic: 3.3 liter V6/4-speed auto – more: Chrysler Town and Country Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Chrysler PT Cruiser Diesel

Plant: Toluca, Mexico
Engine: Mercedes-Benz 2.2 liter common rail diesel four cylinder, producing 148 HP and 221 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 10.8 second, when equipped with a five-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 2.4 liter I4/5-speed Manual – more: Chrysler PT Cruiser Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Chrysler Sebring Diesel

Plant: Sterling Heights, MI
Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel four cylinder, producing 138 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 12 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 2.4 liter I4/4-speed auto – more: Chrysler Sebring Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Dodge Avenger Diesel

Plant: Sterling Heights, MI
Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel four cylinder, producing 138 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 12 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 2.4 liter I4/4-speed auto – more: Dodge Avenger Gas Mileage Ratings)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Dodge Caliber Diesel

Plant: Belvidere, IL
Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel, producing 138 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 8.8 seconds when equipped with a six-speed manual transmission.

(Domestic: 1.8 liter I4/5-speed manual)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Dodge Nitro Diesel

Plant: Toledo, Ohio
Engine: VM Motori 2.8 liter common rail diesel four cylinder, producing 174 HP and 339 302 foot pounds of torque. 0-62 MPH in 10.5 second when equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission.

(Domestic: 3.7 liter V6/6-speed manual)

US MPG Euro Diesel
Domestic US MPG

Dodge Journey Diesel (Coming Soon)

Plant: Toluca, Mexico

Engine: Volkswagen 2.0 liter common rail turbo-diesel four cylinder, producing 140 HP and 229 foot pounds of torque. Equipped with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.

Mileage figures yet to be released.



(1) MPG figures were converted from UK urban/extra-urban/combined mile per British gallon estimates for the purposes of this report, using publicly available data.

(2) Chrysler assembles, but does not manufacture, diesel-powered Dodge Sprinter Vans in Charleston, South Carolina. Mercedes-Benz ships the parts from Europe.

(3) Cummins diesel engines are a popular domestic option in heavy-duty models of the Dodge Ram pickup. Dodge is poised to extend diesel engines throughout the range.

– by

104 thoughts on “35 MPG: Why Wait Until 2020?”

  1. Chickens are still roosting over the junk automobile diesel engines that GM foisted on us in the early 1980’s. Leaking head gaskets every 50K miles, etc. etc. Fear that we will not purchase these new (hopefully durable!) diesels in numbers to make profits. How about 200K mile powertrain warranty to start?

  2. The only way you’ll get politcians to ever co-operate to have fuel efficent vehicles as a priority, despite all their whinning and supposively concern about the environment and such, is to have the price of fuel high enough that the greedy oil companies can sustain their enormous profits and the government won’t loose a cent in taxes relating to lower revenues because of vehicles requiring less fuel.
    Its all a money game and regardless of how its played, the consumer will always loose out. When you have power of big business with a system designed to make a vehicle almost mandatory for everyone, the authorities control the prices, the regulations and in short…your life, whether you wish to believe or not.

  3. You also have to remember that diesel’s last longer. It’s not uncommon to hit 1,000,000 miles. We have an 02 diesel jetta with 220,000 and an 84 diesel escort with 260,000. The engines LONG outlast the bodies. My escort engine is actually on it’s 3rd body.

  4. I’m I the only non-idiot here? They’re not being sold in the US because of POOR EMISSIONS!!! Yeah, 50 MPG sounds great, until you’re choking to death on smog. Try visiting Los Angles or even Philadelphia. Even with current standards, air quality is still disgusting. We shouldn’t lift emissions standards just to save a few bucks on gas.

  5. Thank the EPA people. Wait, the bleeding-heart politicians that GAVE the EPA the power it has were elected by YOU (not me BTW)…and oh wait again, the policies that have been voted on and established setting standards, and the “sky-is-falling” mentality that led to all of these emissions tsandards…again, a BLEEDING-HEART sentiment propogated by liberal minded individuals. Hmmm, I wonder why we’re in this mess now??!! Seriously people, you bolk about this stuff, but the ultimate demise of us because we cannot drive these type of vehicles or drill for our OWN oil is only your fault! Stop voting for stupid “feel good” legislation that makes no sense. I mean, we cannot drill for oil offshore in the Gulf, but CUBA will do just that with LESS regard for the environment and then will sell it to us at a HUGE profit! What is the sense in any of this? Stop whining unless you are going to stop voting for stupid politics!

  6. A simple search yields an article on why diesel may not be doing as well:
    “The improved efficiency of diesel engines can also help reduce oil consumption. It should be noted, however, that it takes about 25% more oil to make a gallon of diesel fuel than a gallon of gasoline.” So right off the bat, we can’t look straight at the better mileage. It is more than 25% better, but its not as good as you would think.

    Also, while CO2 is less with the diesel “when it comes to smog-forming pollutants and toxic particulate matter, also known as soot, today’s diesels are still a lot dirtier than the average gasoline car.”

    I think its too early to look at diesel as the best solution. The emission standards are tighter in the US and I’ll wait till I can see diesels that consistently meet them.

  7. OK so here’s something you may have overlooked, if you flood the market with high mileage Diesel cars and trucks that will spike the Diesel Gas pricing. Which in turn affects the thousands if not millions of 18 wheelers on the road who run on Diesel. So some equilibrium must be met unless we all want to pay extremely high consumer prices since the transportation costs will skyrocket to ship any product, even FedEx and UPS would be affected. It’s easy to make things seem very black and white but the answers to our energy problem will not come from one miracle source.

  8. Agree with DerekP. Diesel costs more. Also, has anyone checked the reliability on these vehicles? Last I checked Chrysler was at the bottom of the heap for producing anything of quality. Let them ship these junk cars overseas or wherever.

  9. I’m always confused about America’s take-up of diesel cars. Apparently your commercially available diesel was not to the same quality as ours (UK) until recently, but now you’ve moved to ULSD it’s now the same.

    Surely it would save some of you a fortune if you could import a Citroen C1/Peugeot 107/Toyota Aygo diesel – 80 UK MPG (67 US MPG I think). My gf had one and it cost pennies to run. http://www.citroen.co.uk/new-cars/citroen-c1/

    Even bigger diesels like VW golf TDI/Lexus/BMW 3 series are good for MPG.

  10. If they can’t sell them, how come the law allows them to make the cars? If WE can’t drive the cars of our dreams no one else should be able to!

  11. My 03 VW Golf TDI gets an average of around 48 mpg in mixed driving (city and highway). Granted, diesel is about $1 more than gas presently, but people forget that it generally is cheaper than gas in the summer. The current disparity is related more to production issues (plants down for maintenance) than anything else. Since at an average of 48 mpg my car uses about 1/2 the fuel of the average car, diesel would have to be double the price of gas to break even. And when I convert to veggie oil its all gravy from there!!

  12. What about a Dodge Hybrid? Are they working these yet?Every one else seems to make them. Or maybe a combo of Diesel/Hybrid?

  13. A year ago I was writing state and federal officials to “permit the emergency imports of fuel efficient cars”. Glad to see others see that too. The same leaders who wrote the EPA and DOT regs years ago, can write new ones. If you want to help the US economy the “EMERGENCY REGULATIONS” would apply to U.S. built economy cars. The more fuel efficient the car, the less safety and emmissions requirements. For example, a 25 mpg combined car must meet 2007 regs, a 30 mpg combined car must meet 2004 regs, a 35 mpg car must meet 2000 regs, a 40 mpg car must meet 1997 laws……

  14. If only the writer can get his facts right. The grand voyager crd does not put 174hp 339lb-ft.
    It’s more like 161hp 265lb-ft to save the FWD transmission. 0-62= 11.9sec. If it were the other rating I’m sure it would be under 10 sec.
    He also states the the diesel is exclusive. While looking at the UK web sight shows the 3.8L is available.

    The dodge nitro crd is also wrong. There isn’t a 339lb-ft version. Just a 174hp 302lb-ft. http://www.dodge.co.uk/nitro/models.html

    What I found interesting at http://www.jeep.co.uk/jeep/versions.aspx?ID=422,2,,
    is that the wrangler sport has the 174hp and the limited has the 161hp.

    It would be nice if the writer can re edit to put in the correct info.

  15. Nothing is going to change until after Bush leaves the White House. The high gas prices are going to continue as a last “bonus” to his cronies in Big Oil. Even the tax relief plan is really just another way to move tax money into Big Oil’s coffers. We won’t be spending that $300 on goods and services to bolster the economy we will be filling the tank a couple times or buying home heating oil.

  16. @66Coronet – Many thanks for your eagle eyes! I must have unwittingly overwritten the correct specs for the Grand Voyager and Nitro in the midst of cutting and pasting and formatting. Not sure what led me the wrong way on the Grand Voyager’s gas engine. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to hire a proofreader … until then, I’ll continue to rely on the kindness and wisdom of the crowds … 🙂

  17. The government has no authority to set a MPG for automakers. It is ridiculous that we have these cafe standards. Move to china if you want communism.

  18. Reading through these posts I think it’s amazing how many Americans still believe that diesels create more pollution than gasoline engines. It is absolutely NOT true. It frustrates me when middle-class Americans spout off with incorrect information and poor decision making rather than taking a moment to check their facts and make sure they are really on the right side of the issue.

    The easiest way to understand what I mean is to think about this: Carbon monoxide poisoning is a major cause of death in homes. It is an invisible, odorless pollutant that is life threatening. Now think about the tailpipe of your gasoline vehicle. Just because the exhaust coming out of it is usually invisible and has a light odor, can you really assume it’s cleaner than a diesel truck that occasionally puts out a puff of black smoke? That black smoke is nearly harmless heavier-than-air carbon soot that quickly settles out of the air. It is much less toxic than the greenhouse emissions that your gasser is spewing into the environment.

    Diesels produce far less greenhouse emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles, plain and simple. Add to this the highly increased fuel economy of diesel, and the advantages are obvious. Hopefully I have convinced you to look beyond the tailpipe at what is really happening behind the scenes. Do some more research to verify what I am telling you and consider yourself informed.

    The US has a stigma against diesel that has come from many sources over the years. The greatest culprit is General Motors, who in the early 1980’s introduced horribly built diesel cars that spewed insane amounts of carbon soot and were very unreliable. Mercedes had this same problem to some extent in the 1980’s. Americans need to understand that those days are over if we are to move forward. Diesels are not like that anymore, they haven’t been for nearly 2 decades.

    I am an environmental activist and I drive a diesel. Not only is it cleaner than a comparable gasoline equivalent vehicle, it also uses far less resources overall. My vehicle has 215,000 miles on it and still runs like new. It should last beyond 600,000 miles without major parts or repairs. Compare this to the life span of a gasser and all the resources that are used in disposing of it when it becomes too expensive to repair and is replaced with a new vehicle. I will continue to drive diesel vehicles until a truly better alternative, such as Hydrogen Fuel Cell, becomes available.

    My wife drives a Ford Ranger. It is a gasser and the fuel economy is far below that of my larger diesel vehicle. Ford DOES build some extremely fuel efficient Rangers, they are clean-burning Common Rail Diesels and are NOT available in the US. I had correspondence with an exec at Ford inquiring as to why these excellent vehicles were not available in the US. The response was that Ford does not plan to introduce diesels into the US market at all in the foreseeable future except in it’s 3/4 ton and larger trucks. No other explanation was given.

    Those of us involved in environmental activism know that the EPA is not about the environment at all, it is about big business and politics. As an example, think about when the EPA suddenly outlawed R-12 air conditioning refrigerant in the 1990’s. They believed that it was contributing to ozone depletion, but they had no firm evidence of that fact. They were conducting a study into the matter, but before the study was completed, they outlawed R-12 and required manufacturers to use R-134a, a much less efficient product that is manufactured by a company that has close ties within the EPA. After this regulation when into effect and R-12 equipment ceased to be manufactured, the study was completed and R-12 was found to not contain any of the particular chlorofluorocarbons that damaged the ozone layer. Turns out there was never any danger from R-12 in the first place.

    After reading that story hopefully you will understand what I mean when I say that the EPA’s diesel emissions requirements are not at all related to gasoline emissions requirements. You cannot say that because a certain diesel vehicle does not meet current US emissions standards, that it is more polluting than a gasoline engine. The new diesel standards are so much more stringent than gasoline standards, there is obviously political shenanigans at work. It is true what another poster said, that diesel emission requirements are currently so strict that you are safer breathing from a new diesel’s tailpipe than breathing Los Angeles air. To make matters worse, the new clean burning technologies that the EPA is requiring on new diesels is actually dangerous. Do some research in the news and you will find the reports of truck drivers who have been killed by the new particulate filters that suddenly explode as they are in the process of self-cleaning by burning excess fuel. When someone speaks about rolling back diesel emissions standards, please try to keep this in mind. It doesn’t give manufacturers a free ticket to produce polluting vehicles. Sure I would love to see manufacturers meet the EPA’s requirements, not just with Diesels but with all vehicles, but the EPA literally pulled these requirements out of their butts and shoved it in manufacturers faces. Volkswagen had to stop producing U.S. Diesels for a long time because of the way the EPA handled this.

    This is a personal note to all of those posters who chimed in about the poor emissions of diesels: The world is what we make it, and you need to realize that because of your ignorant decision making, you are a part of the problem rather than the solution. Please take the time to stop and think and make sure you fully understand the facts before you jump to conclusions.

  19. Accountability of the Detroit3 in the US

    Currently, Ford Europe has SEVEN (7) MORE vehicle configurations getting 50 mpg(US) combined cycle (or better) than they have in the US getting 24 mpg(US) … OR MORE!

    The situation is substantially the same with GM and its’ European partners (Opel/Vauxhall).

    And this article says the Chrysler products are similar.

    Someone stated “The US must become a leader on this – and demand that business become accountable, not only to its shareholders, but to its COMMUNITY!”

    The fuel savings from the domestic use of these over 44 mpg combined average, or greater, vehicles, in sufficient quantities, could reduce oil imports to, or near to, zero; fuel cost to the average consumer by ~55%; … and automotive emissions by ~55%.
    The cost savings from reduced oil consumption, approximately USD$ 0.8 TRILLION ANNUALLY (~ USD$ 0.6 TRILLION ANNUALLY just to buy IMPORTED OIL), could fund between 4 and 8 million JOBS … many needed to build these high mpg machines to achieve the needed fuel economy. There would be a need for about 150 to 200 million vehicles to make the transition. Obviously, at least a 10 year effort.
    Thus, revitalizing and pulling the domestic auto industry forward 12 years to the technologies presently being used and marketed elsewhere in the modern industrialized world. Today, domestically, Detroit is at least 8, more probably 12, years obsolete.
    These very high fuel economy 44, or more, mpg(US) combined cycle vehicles WOULD BE … MORE THAN COMPETITIVE … with the “foreign” badges in the US market, both technically and economically. This SHOULD mean MORE JOBS … NOT LESS for the Detroit3.

    IF these classes of high mpg vehicles were being manufactured and sold in the US would there have been a subprime mortgage crisis and the sudsequent BearSterns “melt down”??

    IF these vehicles were built domestically … the US could re-establish OUR industrial base with domestic jobs and an OPPORTUNITY to return to a position of industrial, technological, economic, and environmental leadership in the WORLD COMMUNITY.

    Where is accountability of the Det3 in the US??

    To the US consumer, the economy, … and … OUR NATION!

    And of course, don’t forget the auto industry employees and retirees!!

    *** 44 mpg (in the US) by 2010 ***
    *** PUT MONEY .. in the BANK .. NOT .. in the TANK ***


    Here is supporting data just for Ford. In Europe, Ford UK product has already accomplished the following:

    There are no vehicles (cars/estates/vans/suvs) below 24 mpg(US) [28 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle. {PLEASE, DO NOT GET ANGRY … I am not advocating this … simply stating the facts.}

    There are only 8 vehicle configurations rated between ~24 and ~25 mpg(US) [28 and 31 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle; CO2 greater than 235 g/km.

    There are 56 vehicle configurations rated between ~26 and ~34 mpg(US) [31 and 40 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle.

    There are about 57 between ~34 and ~42 mpg(US) [41 and 50 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle

    There are 10 vehicle configurations between ~42 and ~50 mpg(US) [51 and 60 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle.

    There are 12 vehicle configurations between ~50 and ~58 mpg(US) [61 and 70 mpg(Imperial)] combined cycle [none above 66 mpg(Imperial)]; ALL with CO2 less than 120 g/km.

    That is out of about 143 Ford variations currently on the VCA database (UK).

    By comparison, here in the US, FORD has only 5 models rated 24 mpg(US) and above combined average.

    So, Ford Europe has SEVEN (7) MORE vehicle configurations getting 50 mpg(US) combined cycle (or better) than they have in the US getting 24 mpg(US) … OR MORE!

  20. For the past year or so I have been in the market for a light delivery vehicle for my business. Being an environmentally conscious person, I was hoping to purchase a vehicle with a diesel engine now that biodiesel fuel is fairly easy to find. With the exception of the 5.5 liter Freightliner ‘Sprinter’ van (which is too large for my needs) as well as the 6.0 liter Ford Econoline, and the 6.6 liter Chevy cargo (both of which get less than 16 mpg city) I could find no suitable vehicles for sale in the US.
    Then on a some recent trips overseas I saw that the rest of the world (Europe, Asia, Central America) was awash with a huge variety of diesel vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Upon returning home I looked on the internet to see why NONE these great vehicles is available to the American consumer. I contacted Toyota, maker of a van called the Hiace which has a 2.0 liter diesel engine which averages 42 mpg. “Not available to the US market”. I wrote to Volkswagen regarding their 1.9 liter turbo-diesel Transporter van which averages 44 mpg. “These cannot be imported to the US” I was told.
    The President has said we must “end our dependency on foreign oil because it supports terrorism and bad for our economy.” So how can you explain the following?
    The ‘Energy Policy Act of 2005’ was sponsored by Rep. Joe Barton R-TX, a man whose 2004 U.S. Congressional election campaign was financed to the tune of $224,000 by oil companies.
    Congress rules in 2005 that CAFE standards will be 35mpg BY 2020 (European cars on average got 40mpg already in 2005) and sets emission standards (lumping gas and diesel emissions together) in sulfur and hydrocarbons, effectively banning import of high mpg vehicles to the U.S. in 2007.
    Many of the new European vehicles imported to the U.S. can not be sold in Europe because they do not meet European mileage standards.
    Most U.S. vehicles do not meet China’s fuel efficiency standards (35 mpg) and cannot be imported to China.
    U.S. vehicles on average get 40% less mileage that European vehicles get. See the chart below: same exact cars, different engines (and very different MPG!)

    Car US Engine US (MPG) European Engine Euro (MPG)
    Nissan Versa 1.8l Gas 28/35 1.5 HDiTurbo Diesel 41/57
    Ford Focus 2.0l Gas 27/37 1.6 Tdci Turbo Diesel 38/59
    Chrysler PtCrusr 2.4l Gas 17/23 2.2 CRD Turbo Diesel 37/42
    Hyundai Elantra 2.0l Gas 25/33 2.0 CRDI Turbo Diesel 29/48
    Kia Rio 1.6l Gas 27/32 1.5 CRDI Turbo Diesel 30/45
    Mazda 3 2.0l Gas 23/31 1.6 MZ-CD Turbo Diesel 39/57
    Toyota Corolla 1.8l Gas 26/35 1.4 D Turbo Diesel 41/55
    Average 2.0l Gas 24/32 1.7 Turbo Diesel 36/52
    Diesel technology has a undeserved reputation for being more polluting than gas. Clinical research in Finland concluded that diesel hydrocarbon emissions are much lower in particulate matter of vehicle exhaust than gasoline emissions, which are known to contain carcinogenic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and are suggested to increase lung cancer risk in humans.
    Also, as particulates are measured per gallon of fuel burned, diesel engines which burn 40% less fuel will also emit 40% less particulate matter.
    Our vehicles are responsible for over half of the CO2 American households emit, increasing greenhouse gasses which in turn contribute to the global climate change problem. Every 3 mpg extra we can get saves 1 million barrels of oil per day ($25 billion per year). So why can’t we have these vehicles?
    On Mar 5, 2008 in Austria, OPEC refused to intervene on crude oil cost because U.S. has not done enough to curb its usage glut. I am writing this on the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Our own governor, who has now attended some 90 funerals for Oregonians lost in Iraq, has expressed what we know to be true: this war is about oil.
    In the same week, the Oregonian does an article on the new 2008 Mercedes ML- 550 SUV, a vehicle which sells for $67,030 and has an EPA rate of 13 mpg city, and 18 mpg highway. This same vehicle is sold in Europe with a Turbo-diesel engine and gets 40 mpg (not available to U.S. market).
    Why is there no focus on this problem, which goes hand-in-hand with the greatest problem we now face, our self-destructing economy? As Europe moves ahead to solve its energy crisis, we lumber along with the same problems year after year. I urge you to use your power to deal with this before we as a nation regress to third-world status.

  21. Thank you SpaceHiker! I’m glad you typed all of that so I wouldn’t have to.
    People need to get educated on new diesels. With the new ULSD fuel, biodiesel and emission equipment, the new diesel vehicles are very clean. The Dodge Ram/Cummins already meets 2010 emissions.
    there are many diesel cars coming to the US in 2009 and they are as clean or cleaner than gasoline cars.

    Automakers are starting to build diesels to meet the new US emissions and people need to forget the diesels of the past.

    E85 is not the way to go. Sure it’s clean. But you burn more than a gasoline car. Gasoline burns about 14:1 air/fuel ratio in todays cars. E85 burns at about 9:1 A/F ratio. With diesel you burn less fuel than either of the other fuels.

    Until hydrogen cars become available, I’ll take a diesel.

  22. Maybe the US automakers don’t want vehicles to last? Diesel vehicles seem to have much longer lifespans than gas vehicles ( 2x+ ). Longer lifespans = fewer vehicles sold = fewer $ made.

  23. Kudos to SpaceHiker forthe post. I was really getting cheesed by all the ignorance and cynicism here, until I got to the end and saw the breath of fresh air (pun intended).

    What we need to do is reduce our reliance on imported oil, and do it in an envrionmentally responsible way. If people would realize that modern diesels are clean, fast and reliable, in addition to being efficient, there would be more demand which would lead to more automakers investing in making more European-spec vehicles US-compliant. The E-class Mercedes diesel (which IS sold in the US) is faster than its gas-engine counterpart, and gets substantially better fuel economy. What’s not to like?

    Plus, this is a much simpler technology than hybrids. (BTW, if you think Chrysler wrote the article on the Jeep diesel, who do you think writes all the articles on the hybrids?)

    Like a previous poster, I too could not find a diesel Jeep in stock at any dealership. The funniest thing I heard from a saleman was, “Yeah, we had a bunch of them in stock when they first came out, but we sold them all.” Duh, maybe you should order some more? Well, I ordered one and I can’t wait to take delivery. Sure, diesel fuel is more expensive, but the efficiency makes up for it, and I get to do my part to reduce our dependence on imported oil.

  24. Regarding the comment from “eco gordon”, then the imperial mile is identical to any other type of mile … ie. there is only one measurement of a mile.

    Gallons, on the other hand, are different. The imperial gallon is 4.5 liters, while the U.S. gallon is 3.5 liters.

  25. why use diesel or gas? electric is here and proven.. tesla rodster proves the looks and speed /distance , miles automotive also makes 80mph sedan, and phoenix motorcars makes 4 door pickup and a nice suv. forget the gas and diesel. i know we,ll always need gas /diesel for other things but electric cars should be massed produced…… the oil co,s and big 3 / our gov. are obviously in cahoots…..Our gov. is not by the people for the people anymore. we lost control 3-4-5 decades ago somewhere. lobbyists and corp America has sold us out.

  26. It seems like the key point or “lynch pin” here is EPA’s calculation of emission standards. Do you know Dan (MPG–O–Editor) how the EPA calculates those emission standards? Is it based on emissions per mile or emissions per gallon? If it is emissions per gallon, that number would be quite skewed against diesel engines because the specific gravity of diesel is more than that of gasoline. In other words, diesel fuel weighs more per its volume than gasoline and thus delivers more power.

    If EPA’s calculation is based on a per-gallon calculation, then when stacked-up against a gasoline powered engine, it is not a fair comparison – it’s like comparing apples to oranges.

    The fair way to compare would be miles traveled per gallon. For example if you were travelling 100 miles, how much are you emitting? For a diesel that gets 50 mpg, it takes 2 gallons of fuel. For a gasoline powered engine that gets 20 miles per gallon, it would take 5 gallons of fuel – now do the comparison of the emissions on both engines using those amounts of fuel. A gasoline engine would meet a tougher emission standard if the measurement is based on emissions per gallon – but again, an unfair measurement when applied to diesel technology. Maybe European emission standards are calculated differently than EPA’s standards.

  27. PhD in Organic Chemistry
    I agree!

    I see comments like this:
    “More diesels on roads? Do you want people dead from all this emissions?”

    How stupid can people be? If you take an American SUV that gets 12 mpg and compare that to a Volvo SUV turbo diesel that gets 35 mpg…..which one do you think is the biggest polluter?

  28. Why so much dissing on Chrysler products? Has anyone taken a good look at them? They are not POS vehicles and Chrysler stands by their product by offering the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty! If a person takes care of their vehicle the way they are supposed to (eg. – doing all the regularly scheduled maintenance when it recommended by the manufacturer), they will last no matter what make or model.

  29. A lot of responses here suggest that folks haven’t kept up with Diesel advances in years.

    1. US regulations now require low sulfur content in Diesel fuel, which permits the use of newer emissions controls that will allow strict 50-state emissions standards to be met.

    2. New particular filters as well as combustion by-product converters based on substances such as urea (which converts NOx into nitrogen and water) substantially scrub Diesel exhaust to the point where it’s not the deadly, stinky, sooty substance that people assume from years past.

    3. Diesels aren’t just for trucks/boat-like barges. The majority of European vehicles rely on Diesel engines, including sports sedans and coupes from manufacturers such as Audi and BMW. These engines have tremendous low RPM torque for strong pull away from a stop and also run sufficiently smoothly as not to be very distinguishable from gasoline engines in everyday use. I’m personally looking forward to the new Jetta TDI due out shortly, which is 50-state emissions certified and is expected to achieve 40MPG city / 50MPG highway (30% greater than the base gasoline engine). This is from a 2.0 liter engine with peak engine HP of only 140HP but with torque equal to 236 ft-lb and with 90% NOx reduction over older style Diesels from its new emission system.

    4. In considering CO2 emissions, it’s important to realize that biodiesel changes this equation because it consumes CO2 in production. Basically, the same CO2 gets recycled again and again rather than releasing ancient CO2 locked in chemically when fossil fuels were first formed from ancient forest growth.

    5. There may not be one solution to the joint issues of greenhouse gas production, energy consumption and foreign oil dependence. In the future, we’ll likely have a more diverse set of options. Diesel can play a role right now by achieving hybrid-like mileage figures in many cases (the 35MPG figures in the quoted article are low in general because the article restricts itself to a few Chrysler domestically-produced models) without the complexity of a hybrid drive train or the issues with battery recycling. Or, it can be combined in a Diesel-electric hybrid resulting in Diesel-like highway mileage combined with the in-city, stop-and-go advantages of a hybrid powertrain.

  30. I can’t believe how far behind the US is in it’s car efficiency, take a look at the UK, my diesel car does around 50mpg on the motorway and my girlfriends sports TDI (very nippy) does 48mpg on the motorway, I’ve just started using Biodiesel so this should go up, as supposedly it holds more energy than standard diesel.

    Due to fuel prices and feeling responsible for our energy consumption here I think we’re doing pretty well, why is are American’s so far behind?

  31. I own a diesel, so I am certainly not opposed to your thesis.

    However, it is interesting that you mention the Chrysler 300 is made in Graz Austria.

    I lived in Graz for awhile, and the abundant diesel vehicles were not only efficient, but also a major contributor to local air pollution. In fact, the air in Graz was so bad that most of my friends with young children complained that the latter were plagued with asthma and other upper respiratory problems.

    Europeans, who have not yet even realized that smoking in a public place is a health hazard, have been very slow to deal with air quality issues.

    This may help answer your “why are is the govenment not hopping on the diesel bandwagon” question.

    While diesel vehicles can provide somewhat better fuel economy, the air pollution issue is still important. Yes, we have better diesels now, but the governments here are bound by much stricter pollution laws than Europe.

    I recall a recent study that showed a link to memory issues with children exposed to diesel fumes (school buses).

    Diesel vehicles (even with the vaunted biodiesel) are no solution to our overall energy costs, global warming issues, or attempts at “carbon footprint” reduction. Diesel engines can also be more expensive to repair than gas, and the legendary longevity is often exaggerated, with the exception of low-speed diesels (i.e. big trucks). For example, our Toyota diesel blew a head at 60,000 miles…$4000. Our gas Tempo gives just as good fuel economy, and it has been nearly trouble-free for 100,000 miles.

    Granted, overall mileage is better with diesel. Once the pollution issues are addressed (and perhaps they have with the new models for all I know), they will at least become a way for North Americans to save some money on fuel once they are readily available here. That day is not far off, as diesel is at least a more promising alternative to gas than anything else I have heard about.

  32. uh…..hell-LO!!! Has anyone ever been to Europe, say Bulgaria, or Slovakia, where Diesel powered cars rule??? Where the air is BLUE!!!!! And stinks to high Heaven from Diesel fuel. You do NOT want diesel-powered cars here in America, or anywhere, and should be happy we have high emissions standards here. Go anywhere outside of the states, and see for yourself before you make such comments.

  33. @ Ken & E – There’s there and then, and there’s here and now. The clean diesel engines of today are a far cry from that which you’ve likely been accustomed. The emissions laws of Bulgaria or Slovakia cannot compare with the state-of-the-art here in America today.

    The last diesel engine found in a US-spec Toyota passenger car was in 1986.

    Driving a diesel of that era back-to-back with a new clean diesel would be an eye-opening-experience.

  34. E, All,

    Update your Diesel Knowledge! VW Polo Blue Motion, Green Car of the Year in UK. 68MPG, Cleaner than Prius, Quiet no smell.

    The bluemotion VW GOLF, 60MPG’s. VW is building a plant in the US to produce these cars. Looks like 2011 or so before they arrive. We need to harass our local government reps and VW America to get this to be the norm. 60+ MPG cars are available now, cleaner than our standards, just not available in the US! See what I mean, shafted!

  35. The new ultra-low sulfur diesel contains 15 parts per million of sulfur. The low-sulfur contained 500 parts per million. The original diesel contained over 5000 parts per million. The refining out of the sulfur is contributing to the higher cost of diesel, and government fuel taxes are higher for diesel than they are for gasoline. If the diesel emissions are a bit higher than gas anyway, just think, they are using on average 40% less fuel. That is 40% less amount of emissions they are kicking out, and in the end, that balances out as emissions can be based on a per gallon basis of operation. The EPA really screwed the trucking industry, they tightened the regs, and didn’t give the engine manufacturers enough time to get their engines ready (they moved up the date 4 years, with no warning to the manufacturers). The newer engines generally got less MPG, and the newer fuel and technology were more expensive. But we are getting by, and the diesels are definitely cleaner than they had been. Trucks used to smoke when they were pulling hard, now they hardly smoke. Diesels are inherently more efficient than gas anyway, just by design.

    Is anyone thinking about a gray-market diesel from Chrysler?

    PS. I have asthma. Have never had a reaction to diesel exhaust. I have an 84 Rabbit Diesel, and no reaction to that engine, either. I think people are overstating the effect. If they are that sensitive to exhaust, they are sensitive to every other irritant in the world. Maybe we should put the world in a bubble for the benefit of a few??

  36. In Brazil most of the cars are flexfuel and also you can add a small tank for propane gas. With propane gas u get twice the mileage than with gas and the tank goes in the trunk of your car. One little switch and it switches over from gas or E100 to propane. The propane preformance is 10% less but who cares when propane is way cheaper than gas in Brazil. Also E100 in Brazil is have the price of gas. I have a 79 Puma gts and it runs on gas, but the gas comes already with 25% ethanol made from sugarcane. The bagasse from the sugarcane is fed to the cattles, fertilizer, made into plastic and turned into eletricity. All renewable. Here in depend on China and Arab Petro, now you know where the $$$ is going besides Iraq. Lousiana,Florida,Alabama,Texas,Puerto Rico and Hawaii could all grow sugarcane. All the land in Brazil that is used for sugarcane plantation is located in Sao Paulo and it’s over 1400 miles from the pantanal or the amazon. It uses less than 1% of all arable land in Brazil. Also makes up to 3000 gallons per acre with sugarcane and all you need is rainwater, compared with corn that you only get 600 gallon per acre and you need 3 gallons of water per for every gallon of Corn Ethanol. Also keeps the money in USA, jobs and renewable energy. Brazil is the only self-sufficient nation on Earth. They went from almost bankrupty in 2002 to a $200 billion surpluss in just 6 years. Have a good day everyone.

  37. Ove (#29) said “The American car companies just don’t want to make it available to us here!”

    Car companies are huge companies whose main goals are to make money, right? Then if they KNEW HOW to make better cars, and if they were ALLOWED TO sell better cars, and if people WANTED TO buy better cars, then why wouldn’t they sell them? Wouldn’t they make more money? Don’t worry, they would.

    There’s a combination of 4 possible answers:
    1. They don’t know to make better cars
    2. They aren’t allowed to (as this article suggests)
    3. There isn’t a market for them (or they mis-calculated the market)
    4. It’s a conpiracy — They are conspiring with evil forces to lose money and go bankrupt on purpose, while they could have become rich and powerful instead.

    You can choose for yourself, but I think the whole car-company problem we’re seeing is likely a combination of numbers 1 through 3.

  38. Rules and facts,
    1. People, Learn before you speak, it WILL show.

    2. Diesels of today are not you fathers Olds 5.7D that spewed out blue smoke and garbage into the air.

    3. Look at the chrysler 300, it produces almost as much Torque as the HEMI version and gets 50% mpgs, and boys and girls Torque is what moves weight.

    4. Who cares if you have a 1995 mazda/honda that gets 35mpg it still isnt the SIZE of a Crysler 300.

    5. 12 second 0-60 maybe slow or “dangerous” to “Your” standards but to me thats way faster than an old F150 with the 4.9L I6, and the speed limit is well posted!

    6. The gas powered cars in America are actually de-tuned (run rich) to make the emission system work properly so your Catlyst will “change” one bad pollution into another.

    7. If there is no market here, why is VW selling them site unseen, and for $5,000 more than the gasser?

    8. A V10 Ford Excursion gets an ULEV rating in CA but the 06 VW TDI was Limited? the TDI burns 1/5th the fuel! Pollution per mile makes more sense.

    9. The reason China and the rest of the world, has crappy air, Their industries and factories have no emission standards.

    10. CA must be backwards, in my little town in MN we have 5 gas stations and only 1 does not have Diesel.

    11. The 2009 non hybrid car with the most city/hwy mpgs is the Toyota Yaris 29/35, the Diesel Minivan gets 20/35 its huge comparitively, as is the 300 @ 25/35.
    The ONLY other non-hybrid that beats the Yaris in the USA is guess what a VW TDI Jetta, and incase you didnt notice its bigger than the yaris too.

    12. Hybrids are a dream, they only improve the fuel economy in the city, at the expense of recycleing a battery every XXX miles which is worse on the enviroment than a Diesel. also you dont need to be an electrical engineer to fix a diesel.

    13. Plug in hybrids are even more of a joke, I live in MN and people are too damned lazy to plug in their car 20 times a year due to sub-zero weather, who is going to plug in their car every night, when they are carrying their lunchbox and the Mail, and the bag of goodies from the Quick-E-Mart.

    14. E10, E85, and Hybrids are only popular in the US….I wonder why…Uncle Sam has control over everything.

    15. Thank you, for writing this, I had no Idea we were building those Diesels here, Kinda makes you want to bring one home, “One Piece At A Time” as Mr. Cash said.

    I will check back to see how this is doing later.

  39. Why can’t Detroit imitate Brazil? Ethanol has been there for over thirty five years. I lived there for five years and both two cars. I had a choice of pure gas, half ethanol and half gas, or just ethanol with a very little bit of gas. They all work fine.

  40. I’d love to own an AWD Diesel Dodge Caliber w/ 6-speed… dreaming, I know. The 2010 Dodge EV may be my next new car. Hopefully, that isn’t a dream!

  41. Chrysler had a Turbine Engine way back in 1962 the thing ran on hair tonic, nailpolish remover almost any thing that you could burn in liquid form… it got decent fuel mileage and had 1/3 fewer moving parts than the infernal combustion engine.. so where is it today.. the Federal Government uses it in the M -1 A -1 TANK… the big drawback was the heat from it’s exhaust… they used a regenerator to recycle the heat and aid combustion… this is the engine of the future… complete burn of fuel… no water vapor.. screw the BIG THREE…. everybody buy a TANK…


  42. @Akhenaten – Turbines? Great stuff! Lets not forget Andy Granatelli’s turbine-powered STP Oil Treatment Special Indy car … it was wicked cool …

  43. I personally think that the reason that Diesels are not made available to Us, is due to keeping us buying their gas cars. They do not last as long as diesel cars therefore we must buy another. Plus we spend more on gas, to run our cars. It all amounts to GREED.

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