The Speculist: Popular Mechanics Makes a Case for Diesel


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Popular Mechanics Makes a Case for Diesel

Don't miss this article at Popular Mechanics about modern diesel engines. This article emphasizes how clean and efficient these engines have become.

Today’s clean diesels, such as this engine from a Euro-spec 2007 VW Polo, can offer better fuel economy (74.3 mpg) and produce fewer greenhouse gases than some gas/electric hybrids.

But there's another important point - with diesel we can grow our own.

The full title of the article is "The Case for Diesel: Clean, Efficient, Fast Cars (Hybrids Beware!)." Of course it doesn't have to be a contest between hybrids and diesel. A hybrid could be a diesel.

And, while I'm placing my order, make mine a plug-in diesel hybrid.

- H/T Instapundit.


I have a quick comment and a blurb.

The quick comment is that I'd be move in love with biodiesel if rainforest destruction were not so well documented.

The blurb:

It's easy for dream cars to beat real ones. It's easy for executives to state aspirational goals. But, the reason we even have the metaphor, "the rubber will meet the road" is that we really do have to wait for the rubber to meet the road.

I figure, as in so many other areas of energy and environment, that I win by being agnostic. I'll choose the best in [insert year], and I won't have to overcome any allegiances I've formed to tech or players.

It may be fun as a spectator sport, or punditry, to "call" future winners ... but we have flaws as humans, and those same predictions can bias us toward (or against) whatever might come down the pike.


The article on diesel is about cars that are already on the road.

Hybrids are already on the road, and we already have a few plug-in hybrids in operation in this country.

There's nothing too implausible here. We just need to get these technologies together.

I wrote the blurb for another site (futurepundit) that hung a lot on that prediction of a 2009 jetta and 50 mpg (US, Combined, and our non-Imperial gallon).

As I say, I'm agnostic, but I've sort of lived through a lot of hybrid sniping, with "next year's" diesel as the winner. We are reaching 2008 so next year moves to 2009.

Sure, I'll love them if and when they prove themselves in real-world US conditions. I think they have some hurtles with the added weight coming from our safety standards, and of course with our environmental standards ... but if they do it, they do it.

Still, it's a cognitive error to say that something is a winner today ... not because it wins today ... but because it might win tomorrow.

(See the EPA's "shared" mileage database for collected real-world MPGs for the last diesel Jetta sold in the US.)

serial hybrid, plug-in, and convertible.

The technology all exists now, I'm just not into building my own.

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