Thursday, July 13, 2006

Diesel Smoke & Mirrors.

When I read the posts from a campaigner recently that they had been test-driving this great new Jeep Liberty Diesel model that gets such great mileage, it was the first I'd heard of it.

Like many, I've been yearning for Diesel engines to make a comeback since GM thoroughly botched its Diesel strategy in the '80s. Diesel is a cleaner fuel, and the turbo models are probably the most efficient engines ever put under the hood.

Well, then there's the whole thing about NOLA being the main terminal for Diesel shipments in the U.S., but that's a whole other problem...

So it's with great pain that I offer my opinion of the cute little Jeep Liberty that's now being advertised as getting an incredible 26 mpg!

Another brilliant advertising strategy is that it will give you an incredible 500 miles between fillups!

Well, if you run the 20.5 gallon tank down to empty, and you drive at a constant speed of 55 mph, that's true.

But we've found over the past 20 years that EPA estimates on the car stickers are a joke. Overall mileage on any vehicle is more likely to trend toward the lower city driving figure. Look it up.

To all of this, I simply say, Big Fucking Deal. This is a big fucking disappointment.

Now, making a Jeep that gets a nominal 20 mpg is not such a big deal, but if you've ever driven one, you know they're like heavy trucks. You'll likely never get 20 mpg in the larger Cherokee models (which aren't really all that big inside). Ever.

So what's the issue here? Is it that Daimler is misguided in putting Diesel into the Jeep line? Is the Liberty, let alone any Jeep, the wrong line to spark the Diesel craze again in the U.S.? Why don't we see U.S. cars and trucks making a leap over the 30mpg range when turbo Diesels are used? Is it just not possible?

Why is it only going into the 4x4 models, which naturally require more engine?

Well, you just have to wonder what is holding these guys back. Europeans, after all, are driving some great sports cars and sedans that are turbo Diesel-powered animals getting around 50 mpg. That's right. 50.

We'll just have to wait a little longer for these guys to get their shit together, I guess.

And without meaningful CAFE standards, which Republicans abandoned more than a decade ago, automakers and Big Oil, led by Chief Sandwich and Coffee Fetcher and Speaker of the House Denny "J. Dennis" Hastert, will continue to hold all of us hostage.

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