Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clean Diesel, Oxymoron?

Diesel is no longer a dirty word. It's hardly even noisy anymore. Diesel has changed, and it's time for America to hop onboard.

Leave it to the Europeans to develop, refine, and produce some of the best engines on the planet. Diesel engines were developed by a man from Germany (last name Diesel) to run entirely off the bi-product of gasoline, which is now known as Diesel fuel.

In the past, Diesel engines have been smelly and loud. These days, unless you have American-made trucks like the Ram, F-350, or Silverado, there is nothing to fear from the clean diesel movement sweeping the globe.

Volkswagen has produced a number of small diesel vehicles over the years, and with that experience comes better efficiency and a whole new degree of clean. Audi produced their "Green Police" ad during the Superbowl, showing that even sporty and luxury cars can be diesels. In fact, a good friend of mine recently purchased a BMW 335d, a premier diesel sport sedan. It boasts good horsepower and incredible torque, making it just as fast as the 335i (gasoline version) while acheiving 36 mpg instead of 25. Why would anyone go without the diesel after seeing that?

In many cases, today's diesel engines are cleaner than gasoline engines, in terms of smog and pollutants. It's time for us to realize the potential that these engines have. Hybrids are great cars, but if I can get the same fuel economy and actually hear the engine purring, I'll pick the diesel any day.

But the demand for diesel in America is practically non-existant, and for those seeking a diesel, the search could prolong itself for months.

My advice?

Give diesel a chance. Hit up your nearest Volkswagen dealership and try their Golf TDI (turbo diesel) or diesel Touareg SUV. Audi also has their A3 TDI, and BMW and Mercedes have a few diesel models as well. The more familiar we are with the technology, the more likely we are to support it, use it, and promote it.

With more diesels in America, we lessen our need for foreign oil. Statistics show that if only 1/3 of Americans drove diesel cars, we could be entirely independent from foreign oil, allowing us to preserve the limited petroleum for things that can use nothing but petroleum, like airplanes or rockets for propelling mankind into space.

I hope that we take time to seek something better than we currently have, that we look for solutions and compromises more than excuses and blame. Clean diesels, and diesel hybrids in the near future, can change the world as we know it. All we have to do is embrace it.

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