While increasing the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles is a stated goal of government of the United States of America, our appointed officials have allowed the perpetuation of a tax that penalizes the owners of certain vehicles. Although our government has put forth a great effort to encourage the adoption of vehicles that include some form of electrification, little has been done to due the same for clean diesel-powered vehicles. One could almost say that they’ve been discouraged.
The mid-size Hyundai Sonata was introduced to America in the 1989 model year and quickly became a hit with the value conscious. The 2013 Sonata produces solid gas mileage figures when equipped with Hyundai’s 2.4 liter engine: 35 miles per gallon (MPG) highway / 24 city / 28 combined (with either the six-speed manual or automatic transmissions). The hybrid version takes it up a notch with a rating of 36 / 40 / 38 (with the Limited edition rated at 37 combined). Our review of the 2011 Sonata shows why the redesign was met with widespread acclaim.
MPG-o-Matic 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Review Summary: The 2014 Chevy Cruze Diesel heralds a new era. Call me crazy, but I’ll say it here first … 2013 will go down in history as The Year of the Diesel in America. It’s been decades since an American auto manufacturer offered a diesel-powered sedan and the new Cruze Diesel is the first out of the gate. Chevy has planned for a limited run of 12,000 diesels in this first model year and I’d wager that they’ll sell out, shortly after the word gets out. The Cruze is the most fuel-efficient car from an American manufacturer for the open road. My marketing friends might call this one out as a scarcity play. Will dealers mark up if supplies grow tight? Only time will tell.
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 …
Suffice to say, I don’t usually sit back, watch the press releases roll over the wire and shovel out posts. But when I saw that Honda was showing an integrated vacuum cleaner in the new 2014 Odyssey at a New York Auto Show media preview, I got a bit steamed. Not to suggest that they should have added a steamer as well (who wants to arrive at their destination covered in crumbs and wrinkles), but it all seems a bit supliferous, considering the shape we’re in (lay off the out of shape jokes, kids). It’s just hard to understand why Honda continues to withhold their excellent clean diesel engines from America, knowing that they could provide a thirty percent improvement in fuel economy.