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  #1  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:04 PM
Moe Moe is online now
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CT video claims hi fuel-efficiency cars not allowed in US because of "economic reasons"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBnlX...e_gdata_player

This guy claims that the VW model he drove in the UK which got over 70 mpg is not allowed to be sold in the US. He claims that initially the first answer he got as to why was because of the US's tighter pollution standards, but he responds by pointing out that, due to the almost 2-fold increase in mpg, this car actually results in less pollutants. He then goes on to claim that the "current administration" ultimately said that the real reason engines such as this were not permitted in the US was "economic reasons".

OK, obviously the use of "current administration" is a huge red flag that this guy has an agenda. I'm personally finding it quite hard to believe that this claim is consistent with an administration that issued the "cash for clunkers" program which spent large amounts of money trying to get drivers into more fuel-efficient cars (however unsuccessful it might have been). But I mean, the whole thing kinda smells of one guy's politically-motivated, paranoid conspiracy theory.

Anyone know the facts on this?
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:17 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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I didn't watch the whole thing but two issues jump out.
He is comparing the UK test to the US test they aren't the same so the numbers will be different
AND (here is the biggie)
The UK uses imperial gallons which are larger than US gallons.
Apples to kumquats comparison.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:23 PM
Lukeinva Lukeinva is online now
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Some years ago there were advertisements for a 'black box' that would decrease fuel consumption (and thus increase your mpg). And that the reason it wasn't commercially available was because big government did not want such efficient carburetors so as to keep the oil business in business. And in my recollection somewhere I believe the all-knowing Cecil wrote about it.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:38 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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That sounds a bit off the wall... I'll assume he's talking about a VW Polo, a very small car that does get 70 UK-mpg with a small diesel engine.

First, the UK measures MPG differently then the US -- they have a bigger gallon, and a test cycle that results in economy figures that are better than an average US driver would achieve. So 70 UK-mpg would be much lower in US-mpg -- this calculator says 58 mpg. Still, that's quite an impressive figure.

But, only the diesel models have economy that high. The gasoline powered models get 43 US-mpg, according to that calculator, which is still a good number but comparable to many compacts and subcompacts you can buy in the US.

Diesel engines produce more pollutants than gasoline engines, all else being equal. Since they are more efficient, they do produce less CO2, but on the other hand the produce more of other nastier pollutants -- particulates, unburned hydrocarbons, and sulfur compounds. You can design a diesel-powered car that will meet US emissions standards, but it will require expensive emission control systems (that aren't required in Europe to the same degree).

In fact, VW sells a diesel version of the larger Jetta in the US. But between higher cost of emission controls, and lack of demand for diesel cars in the US, it costs $4000 more than the equivalent gasoline powered model. And even then, the diesel Jetta doesn't sell very well. If there was a market, VW could easily sell the diesel Polo in the US. There just isn't enough demand -- not enough drivers in the US that are willing to pay a premium for a particularly small subcompact.

Last edited by lazybratsche; 05-03-2012 at 02:42 PM..
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2012, 02:57 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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There's two things the guy isn't mentioning or isn't aware of:

One, like others have said, the test cycles (and gallons) are radically different. For comparison, the 140HP 2.0L TDI engine we DO get in the US is rated at 70 MPG highway in the UK, but only 43 in the US so that's most of the difference right there. The emissions equipment and tuning on the two are slightly different, but that only accounts for an MPG or two.

Secondly, the 105HP 1.6L diesel model he's prattling on about is a spectacularly slow car by the current US new-car standards. It's 0-60 is about 13 seconds, which I believe would make it the slowest car sold in the US, which is not a distinction any car maker wants. Especially when the Passat is supposed to be one of VW's more upscale offerings.

The US's emissions standards do make diesels somewhat more expensive to sell in the US, although the difference between US and European standards for diesels is much much less than it has been historically. In the end though, the major stumbling block is still that you have to pay more for the diesel, and current fuel prices mean that the new car buyer will essentially never break even. And they are never going to pay MORE for LESS performance. VW has managed to keep selling diesels in the US partly by being shrewd about what engine options they offer. They only bring in the highest performance diesel they offer so that, in terms of performance, the TDI engine ends up being between the entry level 4-cylinder gas engine and the high-performance (V6 or turbo) gas engine. So people will pay for better mileage AND slightly better performance, but not just mileage alone.

Last edited by GreasyJack; 05-03-2012 at 02:59 PM..
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2012, 03:09 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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It is certainly troublesome that the US continues to measure pollutants by % coming out of the exhaust, rather than total amounts per mile driven. So mileage doesn't figure into EPA standards in any reasonable way.
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2012, 03:43 PM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazybratsche View Post
If there was a market, VW could easily sell the diesel Polo in the US. There just isn't enough demand -- not enough drivers in the US that are willing to pay a premium for a particularly small subcompact.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
In the end though, the major stumbling block is still that you have to pay more for the diesel, and current fuel prices mean that the new car buyer will essentially never break even. And they are never going to pay MORE for LESS performance.
See? "Economic reasons," just like the guy said!
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2012, 03:49 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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Ah, right. Sometimes I forget that we now live in a totalitarian nightmare state, where Obama has forced the socialist principles of "supply" and "demand" on all of us.

Last edited by lazybratsche; 05-03-2012 at 03:49 PM..
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:30 PM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Isn't there a requirement for performance in the US as well? There are clown cars available in europe that simply cannot hit freeway speeds; I would assume any vehicle sold in the USA should be capable of 60mph so as not to slow traffic on freeways.

Plus, part of the weight savings on some clown cars would be lack of high-speed crashworthiness. I don't think they compromise i just because the vehicle does not reach those speeds.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:31 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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Originally Posted by lazybratsche View Post
First, the UK ... and a test cycle that results in economy figures that are better than an average US driver would achieve.
I remember watching one of the driving programs on TV here (Top Gear or 5th Gear, I forget which) doing a test which demonstrated that the MPG ratings are actually pretty accurate. However, I think that the type of driving that British drivers do is likely rather different than that of American ones, with a higher emphasis on urban driving and less on A-road / freeway and motorway / interstate driving.
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:42 PM
MarcusF MarcusF is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Isn't there a requirement for performance in the US as well? There are clown cars available in europe that simply cannot hit freeway speeds; I would assume any vehicle sold in the USA should be capable of 60mph so as not to slow traffic on freeways.

Plus, part of the weight savings on some clown cars would be lack of high-speed crashworthiness. I don't think they compromise i just because the vehicle does not reach those speeds.
"Clown cars"? Curious to know which main stream cars sold in Europe can't make 60mph?
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2012, 04:55 PM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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I'm not sure there's any need to look to government conspiracies, or emissions regulations or crash regualtions, which are probably quite similar in Europe and the US these days. It's simpler than that - gasoline is more expensive in Europe, and in many parts of the continent people are less well-off than Americans. Therefore there is more demand for economical cars. There are certain trade-offs involved in making a car more fuel efficient, as has been touched on, which is why such cars are less popular in countries with relatively cheap gasoline, like the US.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:22 PM
Baracus Baracus is offline
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
It is certainly troublesome that the US continues to measure pollutants by % coming out of the exhaust, rather than total amounts per mile driven. So mileage doesn't figure into EPA standards in any reasonable way.
But the EPA standards are based on emissions in grams/mile, so mileage is, in fact, taken into account.

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/standards/li.../tier1sftp.htm
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:24 PM
Moe Moe is online now
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Thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
It is certainly troublesome that the US continues to measure pollutants by % coming out of the exhaust, rather than total amounts per mile driven. So mileage doesn't figure into EPA standards in any reasonable way.
In the video he claimed the US measures pollutants by gallon (instead of by miles). This point did kinda stick out. Theoretically if some awesome, amazing new engine was developed that did in fact achieve these super high mpg ratings but exceeded US regulations of pollutants per gallon (so that when you take distance into account it would in fact be less polluting), would it be allowed? (though I know it was mentioned up thread that it's not just the absolute percentage of pollutants, but the different kinds of pollutants involved. Is that the issue here?).
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2012, 07:49 PM
Baracus Baracus is offline
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Originally Posted by Moe View Post
In the video he claimed the US measures pollutants by gallon (instead of by miles). This point did kinda stick out. Theoretically if some awesome, amazing new engine was developed that did in fact achieve these super high mpg ratings but exceeded US regulations of pollutants per gallon (so that when you take distance into account it would in fact be less polluting), would it be allowed? (though I know it was mentioned up thread that it's not just the absolute percentage of pollutants, but the different kinds of pollutants involved. Is that the issue here?).
I don't know where he got that from because as you can see from the link in my post right above yours, the EPA says its standards are based on emissions per mile driven, not gallon.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2012, 08:56 PM
Chimera Chimera is online now
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Well, looking up reasonably current prices for fuel in Germany, I find;

Price fixing, released on03.05.2012 at 23:05 o'clock

Regular 91 Oct 1,633
Super 95 Oct 1,632
Super Premium 98 Oct 1,690
Diesel 1,463
SuperE10 95 Oct 1,600

Diesel is aprox 90% the cost of gasoline. Whereas near me, they're currently selling regular at 3.699 and diesel at 4.099, thus making gasoline @90% of the price of diesel, the opposite of Germany. And at that, I'll say that diesel has come down quite a bit, it used to be more like a 20% premium a couple of years ago.

So which is more popular where? Clearly the one that is cheaper.
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2012, 09:17 PM
J Cubed J Cubed is offline
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Well, looking up reasonably current prices for fuel in Germany, I find;
...
Diesel is aprox 90% the cost of gasoline. Whereas near me, they're currently selling regular at 3.699 and diesel at 4.099, thus making gasoline @90% of the price of diesel, the opposite of Germany.
Those Germans, always looking out for their own!

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel
To Akroyd-Stuart was a weasel
Herb had the impression
But Rudy brought the compression
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2012, 12:05 AM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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I went to the UK VW site and checked out a couple models with the engine he mentioned (the BlueMotion 1.2 TDI). Both the Golf and the Passat have a 0-60 time of about 14 seconds. It's pretty hard to find a car sold in the US with a 0-60 time above 9 or 10 seconds. The "economic reason" that Americans don't have access to these cars is that not many Americans will pay $20,000 for a car that would be smoked by a 1993 Geo Metro.

His CT explanation for this (that that the Gov'ment doesn't want high-mpg vehicles on the road because it would mean less revenues from gas taxes) doesn't make sense either. Even if hyper-efficient vehicles DID result in less gas being sold, market forces would ensure that any decrease in gasoline sales would be gradual, over a period of many years, giving TPTB plenty of time to revise how they collect revenue for highway upkeep.
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2012, 12:25 AM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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As for why diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline in much of Europe, and vice versa in the US, it is a simple matter of taxes. Pre-tax, diesel fuel of sort you can run in first-world countries costs a bit more than gasoline. The US taxes diesel fuel slightly more than gasoline -between federal and state taxes, about 5 cents a gallon more. European fuel taxes tend to favor diesel fuel by quite a bit, so it ends up being cheaper at the pump in many European countries.

And anyone looking at Chimera's fuel prices from Germany, and wondering why the octane ratings are higher than we get in the States, Europe uses the Research Octane Number (RON) method of calculating octane rating, while the US uses the Anti-Knock Index (AKI) method. The RON score is usually 4-5 points higher than the AKI figure, for the same fuel.

And the idea that the US government doesn't want people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles doesn't jive with the fact that the US government offers large tax credits to people who buy electric & plug-in hybrid cars, and that the government has been pushing for much higher CAFE standards -54.5 mpg by 2025. (Granted that even the most recent CAFE standards have loop-holes you can drive a light truck through.)
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  #20  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:06 AM
max power max power is offline
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned (i think) and should be kept in mind when looking at fuel efficiency is that diesel is denser than than petrol/gasoline.
So a gallon of diesel contains more energy than a gallon of gasoline.. about 11% more according to wiki..
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_fuel#section_2
It also means that burning a gallon of diesel produces more CO2 than a gallon of gasoline.
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:21 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Why does the US tax diesel more than gasoline? AFAIK it's the only country that does.
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  #22  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:58 AM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Why does the US tax diesel more than gasoline? AFAIK it's the only country that does.
I believe it's because although it's cleaner than it was 30 years ago, diesel is still a "dirtier" fuel than gas - more NOx and sulfur compounds, soot, etc.
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:11 AM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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^missed edit window.

Also, in the US most diesel vehicles are large commercial trucks, like tractor trailers. The amount of road wear and tear a vehicle causes increases exponentially with size, so large vehicles like semis and dump trucks cause a disproportionately large amount of wear on our roads - Cecil mentions that a semi with 9 times the axle weight of a car causes over 6,000 times more wear on the road. Since these types of vehicles are mostly diesel, taxing diesel is a simple way for them to pay for this extra wear.
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  #24  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:40 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Originally Posted by wheresmymind View Post
I went to the UK VW site and checked out a couple models with the engine he mentioned (the BlueMotion 1.2 TDI). Both the Golf and the Passat have a 0-60 time of about 14 seconds. It's pretty hard to find a car sold in the US with a 0-60 time above 9 or 10 seconds. The "economic reason" that Americans don't have access to these cars is that not many Americans will pay $20,000 for a car that would be smoked by a 1993 Geo Metro.
No, he is talking about the Passat BlueMotion 1.6 TDI 105HP 6-speed manual, specifically (the sedan, although the car he hired was a station wagon). There is no 1.2 litre Passat, at least not in the UK. That is the only model + engine variant I can see that achieves the figure of 78.5 mpg (imperial). 0-60 time for this car is about 12 seconds. Also, Diesels tend to look worse in 0-60 comaprisons, but feel a bit faster when you drive them because of all that low-end torque that they have. The 1.8 litre petrol model does 0-60 in about 8.3 seconds (bearing in mind that UK figures are actually 0-62mph, that being the Euro standard of 100kmh).
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  #25  
Old 05-04-2012, 04:58 AM
kferr kferr is offline
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In the UK diesel is currently about 5 to 6 pence more that petrol. Must do a road trip to Germany for some of that cheap diesel.
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  #26  
Old 05-04-2012, 05:08 AM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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^missed edit window.
Since these types of vehicles are mostly diesel, taxing diesel is a simple way for them to pay for this extra wear.
well yes except it has the unwanted side effect of excessively taxing small fuel efficient diesel engine cars as well.

In Australia we handle this by having the yearly registration fee for a truck be based directly on weight and axles, which is a much fairer way of doing it. I find it hard to believe that the US couldn't implement a similar system of registration fees based on vehicle weight.
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  #27  
Old 05-04-2012, 08:37 AM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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In Australia we handle this by having the yearly registration fee for a truck be based directly on weight and axles, which is a much fairer way of doing it. I find it hard to believe that the US couldn't implement a similar system of registration fees based on vehicle weight.
In the US, we do have extra registration taxes on large commercial vehicles, based on weight and distance travelled. When you enter a new state on the Interstate or other major highways, it is common to see weigh stations, that well weigh commercial trucks (they don't weigh every truck, just enough to keep the truckers honest.)

Now, given that burning a gallon of diesel produces more CO2 & noxious smog forming compounds than burning a gallon of gasoline, and that it takes more crude oil to make a gallon of diesel than it does to make a gallon of gas, taxing it slightly more make perfect sense. Heck, if you really wanted too, you could turn 1 gallon of diesel into 1.12 gallons of gasoline by breaking down the longer hydrocarbon chains into shorter ones; this is effectively what refineries are doing.
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  #28  
Old 05-04-2012, 08:57 AM
Throatwarbler Mangrove Throatwarbler Mangrove is offline
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The Toyota Prius gets 72mpg.

http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/sea...aspx?vid=25187

You can buy it in the US. Hell they sell a smaller version called the Prius C in the US that I think does even better. There, problem solved.
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  #29  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:25 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Originally Posted by MarcusF View Post
"Clown cars"? Curious to know which main stream cars sold in Europe can't make 60mph?
I'm sure a Ford Ka or mercedes A can keep up with normal highway speeds, but I saw some incredibly small putt-putts in some parts of Italy and Paris and especially in Amsterdam that I swear were simply golf cars with a roof and doors.

I guess the question is, are there performance reqirements before a car can be licensed for raod use in North America?

There was the same issue with mopeds in Canada - some provinces say since they are limited to 30mph, they cannot go on major roads where the speed limit exceeds 80km/h (50mph). I suspect you might want that sort of restriction on enclosed autos too.
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  #30  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:28 AM
nudgenudge nudgenudge is offline
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Aren't speed limits lower in most of the US? Like 65mph?
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  #31  
Old 05-04-2012, 10:56 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
I'm sure a Ford Ka or mercedes A can keep up with normal highway speeds, but I saw some incredibly small putt-putts in some parts of Italy and Paris and especially in Amsterdam that I swear were simply golf cars with a roof and doors.

I guess the question is, are there performance reqirements before a car can be licensed for raod use in North America?
Provided they pass whatever applicable small engine emissions standards, most of those funny little micro-cars or enclosed motorcycles or whatever else would be street legal in most of the US, although they would be classified as something other than an automobile. See for example the street-legal golf carts that are getting popular in the sun belt. You're not allowed to drive them on the highway, but I imagine that is the case in Europe as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt
Why does the US tax diesel more than gasoline? AFAIK it's the only country that does.
I don't think there's really any social engineering aim there, it's just that diesel was historically cheaper to produce so they figured they could get away with a slightly higher tax on it. These days, monkeying with the fuel taxes in either direction is a political minefield, so they're not going to "fix" it any time soon. It's not like diesel is taxed that much higher-- the federal tax is only 6 cents higher and there's usually around 10 cents difference in the state tax. That extra 16 cents or so isn't the main reason why diesel is nearly $1/gal more than regular unleaded in some places.
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  #32  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:11 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Ah, right. Sometimes I forget that we now live in a totalitarian nightmare state, where Obama has forced the socialist principles of "supply" and "demand" on all of us.
[moderator note]
Please keep the political commentary out of GQ. If you wish to debate politics, we have other forums for that.
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  #33  
Old 05-04-2012, 01:48 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Biodiesel?

Local entrepreneurs are now making diesel fuel out of used restaurant cooking grease. Formerly, you had to pay to get rid of cooking grease-now they collect it for free.
My question: if enough of this stuff becomes available, the Government will start looking for road taxes- who will wind p paying? And, if I make my own biodiesel-do I need a license to do so?
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  #34  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:02 PM
ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by Baracus View Post
But the EPA standards are based on emissions in grams/mile, so mileage is, in fact, taken into account.

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/standards/li.../tier1sftp.htm
Thanks for the info. The EPA in doing it's own cert. testing does appear to take miles into account for new models (and does "age testing" of those models).

I was going on the once a year emissions testing we go thru in some regions which are intended to make sure our vehicles stay without limits. Here, it's just a test on a roller at two speeds, both of which have the same spec. set.

These annual emission tests are mandated (in many cases) by the Feds and implemented by the states, in those counties that exceed pollution limits. So they are "Fed" rules that are trickled down.
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  #35  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:11 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Local entrepreneurs are now making diesel fuel out of used restaurant cooking grease. Formerly, you had to pay to get rid of cooking grease-now they collect it for free.
My question: if enough of this stuff becomes available, the Government will start looking for road taxes- who will wind p paying? And, if I make my own biodiesel-do I need a license to do so?
Some states have alternative taxes where you're supposed to record your mileage and pay it all in one lump sum at the end of the year, but in most states you're off the hook. You don't need a license to make or process your own bio-fuel but you might if you sell it. It could be that in the future if electric or other alternate-fuel vehicles really take off, more states might even switch over entirely to mileage-based taxes. Right now, though, since they're trying to encourage alternate-fuel cars, most states see taxing them as counterproductive.

I used to have some friends who were hugely into the waste vegetable diesel thing and loved to talk about how sustainable they were being, but as WVO conversions got more popular, the smallish college town I lived in hit "peak grease" pretty darn quickly. They all used to just scrounge for grease and process it individually, but eventually a couple of them started a business and pretty much monopolized the waste grease supply, and now they sell the finished product for about the same price as petro-diesel. From what I understand, this is pretty much how the WVO thing has played out in most places and so, alas, the days of free fill ups behind the local burger joint are largely gone.
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  #36  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:12 PM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I don't think there's really any social engineering aim there, it's just that diesel was historically cheaper to produce so they figured they could get away with a slightly higher tax on it. These days, monkeying with the fuel taxes in either direction is a political minefield, so they're not going to "fix" it any time soon. It's not like diesel is taxed that much higher-- the federal tax is only 6 cents higher and there's usually around 10 cents difference in the state tax. That extra 16 cents or so isn't the main reason why diesel is nearly $1/gal more than regular unleaded in some places.
The extra tax difference is even smaller than that - the average US tax on gasoline (including state and federal) is 49.5 cents per gallon, while the average tax for diesel fuel is 54.6 cents per gallon. CITE. For the metric Dopers, that means diesel is taxed about a single cent more per liter than gasoline in the US.
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  #37  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:15 PM
Strassia Strassia is online now
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Local entrepreneurs are now making diesel fuel out of used restaurant cooking grease. Formerly, you had to pay to get rid of cooking grease-now they collect it for free.
My question: if enough of this stuff becomes available, the Government will start looking for road taxes- who will wind p paying? And, if I make my own biodiesel-do I need a license to do so?
This will never become a problem because there is not enough used grease. If one or two people are doing it, they can get the grease for free. Now, so many people want it they expect to get charged. Even so, you quickly hit the point were you can't use old grease and have to use new vegetable oil in production. Then you are looking at commercial outfits and possibly new tax regimes.
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  #38  
Old 05-04-2012, 02:18 PM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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Originally Posted by nudgenudge View Post
No, he is talking about the Passat BlueMotion 1.6 TDI 105HP 6-speed manual, specifically (the sedan, although the car he hired was a station wagon). There is no 1.2 litre Passat, at least not in the UK. That is the only model + engine variant I can see that achieves the figure of 78.5 mpg (imperial). 0-60 time for this car is about 12 seconds. Also, Diesels tend to look worse in 0-60 comaprisons, but feel a bit faster when you drive them because of all that low-end torque that they have. The 1.8 litre petrol model does 0-60 in about 8.3 seconds (bearing in mind that UK figures are actually 0-62mph, that being the Euro standard of 100kmh).
Hmm, you're right. It seems I was looking at the Polo, not the Passat. Two very different cars. I hear what you're saying about diesel cars feeling more "zippy" than their 0-60 times might suggest, especially in city driving. It occurs to me that the guy in the video describes having the car loaded with large adults and luggage, in which case a diesel would probably serve him better than a similarly powered gas engine.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:18 PM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Originally Posted by nudgenudge View Post
Aren't speed limits lower in most of the US? Like 65mph?
Western states are all 70, 75, or 80 on the Interstates. In the east, 65 is the maximum speed limit in MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, WI, and IL. All the rest are at least 70 MPH, with ME and LA at 75.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:27 PM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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Baring some major breakthrough in algae based biofuel production, it doesn't seem possible for the US to make enough biodiesel for taxes to matter that much. Last year, the US produced ~3 billion bushels of soybeans. You can turn a bushel of soybeans into about 1.5 gallons of vegetable oil. So if you converted the entire American soybean crop into fuel, you would get 4 billion gallons of biodiesel. Which is less than 10% of the US diesel fuel needs.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:30 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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Originally Posted by RandomLetters View Post
The extra tax difference is even smaller than that - the average US tax on gasoline (including state and federal) is 49.5 cents per gallon, while the average tax for diesel fuel is 54.6 cents per gallon. CITE. For the metric Dopers, that means diesel is taxed about a single cent more per liter than gasoline in the US.
Oh, oops, I actually looked at that chart but didn't notice that the state numbers already included the federal tax.

There's a gas station near me that has non-taxed off-road diesel on their price board and I just drove by earlier and currently diesel there is more expensive than regular unleaded even with no tax at all!
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:46 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Western states are all 70, 75, or 80 on the Interstates. In the east, 65 is the maximum speed limit in MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, WI, and IL. All the rest are at least 70 MPH, with ME and LA at 75.
On non-Interstate highways, at least in the Midwest, it's fairly rare to see a speed limit higher than 55 or 60.

In Illinois, the 65mph limit on the Interstates is only in rural (or far suburban) areas...in Chicago and most of the suburbs, it's only 55. That said, the speed limits are routinely ignored around here, and rarely enforced by the police. I regularly drive on I-88 (the Reagan Tollway), where the limit is 55, but where many (if not most) drivers usually do 65 or 70.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 05-04-2012 at 02:47 PM..
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  #43  
Old 05-04-2012, 08:04 PM
Chimera Chimera is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throatwarbler Mangrove View Post
The Toyota Prius gets 72mpg.
US ratings for the Prius are;

Standard: 51 city, 48 highway
V: 44 city, 40 highway
C: 53 city, 46 highway

Notice how the C gets 2 miles better city, 2 miles worse highway.

I recommend www.fueleconomy.gov if you want to check out any car model for any year.

Last edited by Chimera; 05-04-2012 at 08:05 PM..
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  #44  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:46 PM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
On non-Interstate highways, at least in the Midwest, it's fairly rare to see a speed limit higher than 55 or 60.
In Montana (which really ought to be called "midwest," unlike Chicago, which is in the middle of the EASTERN half of the country), the Interstates are mostly 75 and other highways are either 70 or 65. Lower than that is pretty rare.
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  #45  
Old 05-04-2012, 10:05 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheresmymind View Post
I hear what you're saying about diesel cars feeling more "zippy" than their 0-60 times might suggest, especially in city driving.
But outside of the city, where it can be upwards of a kilometer between stoplights, that '93 Metro is still passing you.
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  #46  
Old 05-04-2012, 11:00 PM
JustinC JustinC is offline
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Funny, I was just reading this article in the Telegraph which says "Official fuel figures are obtained from a series of tests known as the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). This is supposed to represent typical usage, though in reality it does nothing of the sort".

70mpg is not possible in that car, and the fuel figures get less reliable each year as the tests get more manipulated.
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  #47  
Old 09-05-2012, 07:45 AM
alecz20 alecz20 is offline
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Well, I can tell you for a fact that a VW Polo does indeed do 70-80 MPG.

The car's engine is 1.2 L, TDI, 3 cylinders, about 70-80 HP.

The actual reason why the VW is not sold in North America remains a mystery for many of us.

What is also interesting is that the Diesel fuel price is much smaller in Europe than in the US/Canada.

I heard that the governments want to discourage the use of Diesel and favor the use of Gasoline.

They might do this through a legal framework that says Diesel produces too much of a certain type of pollutant, however Diesel Engines are almost always more economical in terms of MPG.


I do not thing the guy has a political Agenda, this thing has been going on for decades in N.A. and it has nothing to do with the "current administration" it is a legacy issue.

Last edited by alecz20; 09-05-2012 at 07:45 AM..
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  #48  
Old 09-05-2012, 09:02 AM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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alecz20, welcome to the StraightDope.

However, most of the questions you are asking have been answered in this very thread, if you would read it.

The VW Polo 1.2 TDI is very good on fuel, but that comes at a cost of performance. The 0-62mph time is 13.9 seconds, which makes it a hazard to get on and off freeways and highways in the US. It's just to slow to get up to speed, and that is something most Americans are not interested in. That would be a deal breaker for me, personally, as well as most of the folks I know.

Add in higher fuel cost and the car is essentially unsellable in the US market. Supply and Demand trumps political fervor and wishful thinking every time.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:22 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alecz20 View Post
The actual reason why the VW is not sold in North America remains a mystery for many of us.
Can it meet the crash safety, and bumper standards? The Honda CRX of the late 80's did pretty good fuel milage wise, but my understanding is that it couldn't be made to meet the safety standards of later years.
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  #50  
Old 09-05-2012, 12:37 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan View Post
The VW Polo 1.2 TDI is very good on fuel, but that comes at a cost of performance. The 0-62mph time is 13.9 seconds, which makes it a hazard to get on and off freeways and highways in the US. It's just to slow to get up to speed, and that is something most Americans are not interested in. That would be a deal breaker for me, personally, as well as most of the folks I know.
That's really not it. The Smart ForTwo sells alright here despite its 18 second 0-60 time. The first-generation Prius took more than 14 seconds to get to 60.

The reason the Polo isn't sold in the US is simple: it's too fucking small for Americans. The only reason the Smart is sold here is because Mercedes knew people would buy it for novelty/cool value.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 09-05-2012 at 12:38 PM..
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