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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Fuel Economy

Off topic, but here's something that has me scratching my head.

While I was in Spain I rented a Ford Mondeo with a diesel engine in it, and it seemed to be using almost no fuel even under *ahem* spirited driving conditions. I looked up the Mondeo diesel on the Ford UK website and see that it is rated at 46.3 mpg(uk), which is 38.6mpg(US). The gas-powered US Taurus tops out at around 24mpg (average of city and highway) as there is no diesel option available.

Wassup with that? I thought their new chairman was all eco-friendly and whatnot, but ironically if you want a fuel efficient family-sized Ford in the US you have to buy an Escape Hybrid, giving around 34mpg. Imagine that -- to be fuel-efficient, you have to buy an SUV!

Funny old world.


At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, first time to comment on any bloggers sight. :) However, I might have a comment about this. In the US, most, not all, but most Americans think diesels as inferior to the gasoline engine. They also think that a diesel engine should only belong in a Semi. In reality it's not the case. With the conception of the diesels being inferior to the gasoline engines, the American motor companies do not produce a whole lot of vehicles with diesel engines because the sells of those vehicles will not be strong enough. Americans want something that goes fast and not as noisy (even though the newer technologies of diesels make them almost as quiet and as quick as a gasoline engine). To prove this, someone commented here at my work the other day that they wouldn’t have a diesel Mercedes because of the noisiness and it not being as fast. Even though it gets better fuel mileage and would outlast a gasoline engine. They wanted something that would go fast when they put their foot into it. Anyway, that is why I think that the Americans have not adopted the diesel technology like other countries have. BTW, I do drive a 2001 ¾ dodge with the Cummins diesel in it. I love the heck out of it. It’s noisy, but I love it. I plan on keeping that vehicle until I’m 40(I’m 29 now).

Mike Borden

At 12:51 PM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

Oh, that's it. You're now officially a commentator on blogs (a "blogentator"?). It's a slippery slope, Mike.

Yeah, people don't want them -- the auto executives know that features only sell if they make people feel superior to other drivers, I guess, which explains why diesels in pickups are "good" ("I got more torque!") and diesels in cars are bad ("Too noisy! Not fast enough!")

I liked both the diesel Mondeo and the diesel Volvo I rented in the UK, in which I cruised at 85mph down the M4 without any effort at all. They were both manual trannys with six gears and they both took off like rockets. Come to think of it, it was probably the same engine and tranny types in each one, Ford being owners of Volvo and all. They were a bit noisier, but not enough to drown out the three kids in the back unfortunately.

Still, if companies are willing to invest all that cash into hybrid technologies you'd think that they'd at least dip their toes in the water of the small vehicle diesel market, especially as they already sell them elsewhere.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Jan said...

One would think that most diesels are plenty fast to hurry over to the leftmost lane as soon as you enter the highway, then to cruise at 55 mph while everybody passes you on the right...
that's my frustration with Houston traffic speaking...

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Pete_S said...

I liked both the diesel Mondeo and the diesel Volvo I rented in the UK, in which I cruised at 85mph down the M4 without any effort at all

tut-tut, Mr A, good job the police didn't see you

At 1:58 PM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

Hey, I was just moving with the traffic, seriously. Never saw a single police vehicle, but then there are a lot of automatic speed camera locations there ... slow to 75, then back up to 85+

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

Is the horn loud? That's the only thing we care about in the tri-state area!!

At 5:11 PM, Blogger John Baughman said...

Last summer I saw a 13+ second diesel pickup. If we Americans think diesels are slow, we better think again. Granted it was turbo charged and was blowing a huge amount of black exhaust, but it beat its competitor and then did it again on it's next run. Finally, the driver didn't get off the line quick enough and lost.

I had a 1980 diesel Rabbit (VW if you didn't know) that could smoke the tires in 1st and second gear - mods to that car at all; totally stock. My mileage in that (when I wasn't drag racing) about 34 city and 40 highway.

Now, I own a Mustang GT and would love to experiment, if I had the cash, with a turbo diesel 'stang.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UK (don't know about the rest of Europe) gives a big plus to diesel by taxing it much less than petrol/gasoline.

Here in Australia, they are pretty much the same price (diesel a little more) and diesel isn't a big thing here. However there are a lot of cars that run on LPG, though the tank does take up a significant chunk of boot space.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Thomas Kyte said...

I'm as much into the MPG as the EPG


My hybrid gets 45 US MPG

With the lowest emissions possible... (so far)

and it is speedy. Coupling diesel with hybrid technology may well be the best of both.

At 9:00 PM, Blogger David Aldridge said...


Yes, turbos and diesels are a great combination -- in a previous career I stood inside the cylinder of a marine diesel engine using an angle grinder to take off the sharp lip where the run of the piston rings ended. Now that had a turbocharger the size of a car ... very cool indeed.


there's a federal tax break for low emissions vehicles here -- but good luck finding an LPG filling station in Colorado.


A while ago I saw a review of a charger for Prius', that was supposed to top up the batteries over night from household electricity and boost mpg enormously for the first 100 miles of each drive -- approaching three figures of mpg, that is.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Thomas Kyte said...

I recall reading about that (charging up the prius) as well but it also used a software reprogram to tell the car to use it.

Not sure I want to do that ;)

At 5:54 AM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

Ah come on now, it's no worse than hacking the SYSTEM tables.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Benjamin Franklin Gates said...

Go on http://nappyegg.blogspot.com/.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

Hey, blog-spam -- what a great invention.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger John Baughman said...

That's the latest in technology, didn't you know?

I like the way some blog server software forces a random code to prevent auto-commenting. (An example is Scott Hanselman's blog comments: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/CommentView,guid,a4cbd12f-0552-4fdd-8242-21b86cb18089.aspx)

Blogger should be so kind. But, if you prevent anonymous, then you limit to either blogger or only predefined by you. But, the spam you got was a Blogger account though wasn't it?

I believe this is known as a "conundrum."

At 11:14 AM, Blogger David Aldridge said...

Yes, it was from a Blogger account. But I'm open to anonymous comments also, they haven't been a problem for me so far.

That random code thing would be nice though.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous OHenry said...

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