Friday, March 07, 2008

Golf Diesel Hybrid for Everyone Except Us

As usual, some new, cool car technology is being developed which the U.S. will likely be (at best) the last to take advantage of. This time it's a diesel hybrid by VW. The diesel hybrid is not a new concept, but this will be one of the first production cars to incorporate it.

The fact is, diesel cars are awesome in so many ways. They are powerful, efficient, clean, and can be run on 100% renewable fuel with ZERO modification. Many other countries have embraced diesel vehicles. So why do they have such a hard time in the U.S.?

They are perceived by most to be "loud and smelly," to quote the Wired article. I will add that from my observations, people think they are dirty and underpowered. Now let's do some myth busting, shall we?

Myth: Diesels cars are Loud
Fact: Diesel trucks are loud. Old diesel anythings were often loud. My diesel is loud (since I riced out my exhaust system). But "Diesels" are not loud, at least not significantly louder than any gas car.

Myth: Diesel cars are smelly.
Fact: Catalytic converters shipped on current VWs produce a smell that is milder and more natural than the exhaust of a gas car.

Myth: Diesel cars are underpowered.
Fact: Some of them are underpowered (as with any car made), but especially so in the U.S. Often they are purposely power-castrated in order to meet the ridiculous Nitrous Oxide standards the cars are held to, which is all the California Emissions Nazis care about. Read on.

Myth: Diesel cars have terrible emissions.
Fact: Diesel hybrids could be used "in Europe to address tightening emissions regulations" (Quote from Wired Article). Diesels are very low emitters of CO2, which is what we should be focusing on.

Myth: Diesel cars can't/don't do what popular hybrids can, in order to address rising fuel costs and dwindling resources.
Fact: Under many conditions, regular (non-hybrid) diesel cars achieve the same average efficiency as hybrids such as the Prius and Civic (think 45-65 MPG). Now just think what these cars can do as hybrids. If that's not enough, check this out: diesels are the only vehicles that can be run on a 100% renewable fuel, OUT-OF-THE-BOX, with ZERO modifications!

So, I could go on, but like millions of other frustrated diesel fanatics, I think I've made my point. What is it going to take to get the point across to the masses?

The answer is simple.

First, let's look at some of the other simple crap that was used to convince people they need SUVs - which is what got us into this mess in the first place.

(special thanks to , with an awesome commentary on this particular commercial)

So I say, how about one of those hippy-dippy, white backgrounded, "think-different" commercials on a Hollywood trash channel that goes something like this: (Late 20-something, fashionably dressed woman with a British accent, standing in front of new diesel car)
"Diesels aren't smelly, loud or dirty anymore. They're fast, clean, and most importantly, your European fashion heroes are all driving them right now. Diesel: it's the new black!"
(Usual voice-over, phone number and website URL, financing percentages, etc. fade onto the screen.)

Or how about this: (Snoop-dogg standing in front of new diesel car)
"Y'all better be gettin' up on some of Deeeeeeezul-nuts."
(Usual voice-over, phone number and website URL, financing percentages, etc. fade onto the screen.)

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