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Smart cars are looking better all the time.....

Post in 'The Green Room' started by hemlock, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    The things to consider with European diesel cars -

    They measure mileage with imperial gallons, while we use US gallons. That is a 20% penalty right off the top.

    European crash standards usually aren't up to US ones, so they get a lighter car. With 60 million people in a land area the size of Oregon, most everything is 'in town' driving. A US version of the same car would have a fuel penalty associated with the weight of extra safety features. We want to survive an 80 mph interstate crash!

    The last diesel price I saw around here was ~15% more than gasoline, so again, a cost penalty.

    So figure 20% 'mpg' conversion penalty, ~10% weight penalty and 15% cost of diesel penalty, and suddenly that 60 mpg European diesel is roughly equivalent to a ~35 mpg American gasoline car.

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  2. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    I kind of assumed they would convert Imperial gallons for US when they post the MPG, otherwise it would be a sort of false advertising. It is something to think of however.
    As for safety - I've driven on a few "M" series highways over there, and they are not for the faint of heart. They make our expressways look pretty tame, depending upon which country you are in. I remember driving into Berlin in a Fiat with the needle buried at around 180km/h, and getting passed like we were standing still.
  3. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    When companies advertise their mpg here in the US they do convert their numbers to US gallons. People online, however, may not. So when folks say "such and such a car in Europe gets 70mpg" it is true, but it is imperial gallons. It would be more like 58mpg here in the US. Still impressive and far better than what we get here, but not as impressive as the original thought of 70mpg.
  4. kettensäge

    kettensäge Feeling the Heat

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    Went to Italy twice in the past 2 years for work. Took a group of people with me to qualify a new machine my company was buying. Rented a Fiat Ducato, Basically a large 9 passenger van, but very boxy. Had a 2.5L Iveco 4 cyl diesel and a 6 speed. It averaged 25 MPG on the Autostrada at 140 KMH (85MPH) carrying 8 passengers. It was not small.
    And Bio deisel was available at every pump.

    It really made me think about the european approach. 85% of the cars over there are tiny, diesel powered, and maunual trans equipped. I would be shocked that one of those isn't in the mid 50's by our standard of measurement.
    But the air quality is a different story.



    http://c1.gas2.org/files/2010/12/fiat-ducato-2.jpg
  5. kettensäge

    kettensäge Feeling the Heat

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peel_P50

    Reproductions are currently being produced and available for purchase.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  7. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    My friend says his Dodge Sprinter 3500 (24' long, tall enough to walk inside) pulling a trailer full of equipment averages 25 mpg. The school bus drivers I've talked to report similar results. And my in-laws used to get 17 mpg pulling a 35' fifth wheel trailer (talk about wind resistance!) with an F250 diesel.

    Diesel engines are cool. But there are reasons why they aren't more popular here.
  8. 4acrefarm

    4acrefarm Member

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    For slightly more money than a "stupid" car, you ciuld get a Honda Gold Wing. They will get 50 mpg on regular gas , have more storage space, and can pull a trailer. You can buy a 400+ horespower Corvett and get 30 mpg, Why can't small cars get 50+mpg?
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    They can, a lot more. Stop by the Chevy Volt forums and see what is being reported now that folks are starting to rack up some miles on them.
  10. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    They used to. Our Mini did 65mpg, but the new Mini's have aircon, electric windows, and what seems like half a ton of crash zones all welded on.
    The newest VW Polo is about 400 pounds heavier than the same model in the 1980's, because all the engine improvements have been offset by all the extra stuff the manufacturers bolt on to make the new models different to the old ones.

    Can you imagine what could happen if someone dared to make a new car with minimum weight but with an incredibly efficient engine.

    My aim would be 100mpg. Then could we tell all the despots in the oil producing countries where they could shove their black stuff........
  11. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    Wouldn't want to drive a Goldwing when it's -30C (-22F) outside with a strong northest wind.
  12. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

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    a goldwing??? sooner or later, someone you know is going to recognize you on it.......
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My cycle riding days are past. All the attributes mentioned for the Goldwing can be met or exceeded by a Prius, and with 5 people aboard.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Your in-laws were either lying to you or didn't know what they were talking about. Ford diesel trucks, running empty, barely get 17mpg in good conditions. I own one and run low teens with daily driving in the winter. Then again, I know what a gallon is, a mile is, and know how to accurately measure both and divide.
  15. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    I have a 036 ford 500, large car awd and 30mpg a diamond in the ruff, check em out
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  17. Billy123

    Billy123 Member

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    Back in the 80's, my Chevy Sprint got mpg in the 40's with the a/c on high. (3 cyl 1.0L)The thing was great in snow. New tires were $29 each.(145-12)

    Would love to have that in a diesel.

    By the way, diesel was always cheaper that gasoline. Why did that change?
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Part of the reason is supply and demand. The demand for diesel is high outside of the US. The supply of refineries in some countries is quite weak. Our refinery diesel can get a higher price sold outside of the US than being sold here.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My Jetta has no trouble getting 40-45mpg. AND... it looks "normal" unlike almost all the hybreds and "fuel saver" cars.
  20. kettensäge

    kettensäge Feeling the Heat

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    Another reason is air quality. The air in Italy is not that good, you can smell diesel just about everywhere, it is not horrible like at a bus station or truck stop but it is always in the background.
    I also don't belive the 17 MPG with an F250, especially if it's a dually.
  21. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    I dunno, I have a buddy with an F-250 powerstroke, 5spd 4x4 that regularly gets mid to upper 20s unloaded on the interstate.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Was this many years ago? I was in several parts of Italy and Sicily a couple years ago. This was from Firenze and Venezia and southward. We were in their cities and on the highways and autostrada. The air was never heavy with diesel. Actually in Rome it seemed much better than it was on our last visit about 20 years ago. Our car, a Mini Crossman, was diesel too, though you wouldn't have known it from the exhaust. Modern diesels in Europe burn quite cleanly.
  23. joecool85

    joecool85 Minister of Fire

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    From what I have read this is due to the ultra low sulfur content in their diesel.
  24. kettensäge

    kettensäge Feeling the Heat

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    Was in 2008 and 2010. Venice, Verona, Mantova, and Milan off of the A4. Northeast part of Italy, you could see the alps depending on the humidity. The air may have been more stagnant in that area. I wouldn't say the air was heavy with fumes but it was present. If diesel power was more available in everyday cars here like it is there I would buy one in an instant. Most prevalent US car seemed to be Chrysler products and all of them were CRD's. Jeeps, Dodge Magnums, Voyager minivans, etc.

    They do have the cleanest rivers I have ever seen. Nothing like it here except maybe Alaska.

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  25. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Same thing, BS. Your friend is either lying or is not doing the math right. His 5 speed is an old truck, pre97, and doesn't have a mpg computer so he is likely using the fuel gauge as his gallons and his odo for miles. Could have non-OEM tire size too. People do some strange things to justify buying a diesel. The mpg isn't that great on full size diesel trucks. I own one, I am being honest.

    Since 2007 the US has been forced to use Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel. This is supposed to burn cleaner and allow more advanced emissions equipment. The refineries used this as an excuse to push the cost of diesel way above regular gasoline where it will stay. This ULSD always gets worse mpg, about 2 mpg less, from a diesel engine too. All of this seems to make diesel engines worse deal than the early 2000s, the golden years for diesel. Modern, post 2007, diesels are now plugged up with some very lousy emissions control devices that are very expensive to buy and expensive to maintain.

    A guy may be inclined to think that the EPA is doing this to prevent us from using diesel. Keep gasoline consumption high for some political reason.

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