Amazing: the US automobile industry discovers the Diesel engine...

Robert E. Seastrom rs at
Mon Apr 30 12:44:30 CDT 2012

Alex Fraser <beatnic at> writes:

> I was excited about the diesel smart car when I saw them first in
> Canada.  They never made it to the US, only the gas version.  I've
> heard they get 80mpg out of them in Germany.

According to friends who have the Canadian spec 450, 80 is a bit on
the high side.  68-70 per (US, not imperial) gallon is a reasonable
expectation in mixed cycle driving.  Now, a 451 with MHD (basically
the "turn off the engine at the traffic light" technology) may do a
bit better.

I can get 41 or 42 on my (Mitsubishi-powered, gas) Smart on "byways".
Mileage is (unsurprisingly) down to 39 or so when I'm moving at speed
on motorways.

> There is interest in diesel here in the US.  Diesel pickup trucks
> are available.   1st generation dodge trucks with the Cummings
> engine are going up in price, that 1989-1993 with the old body style
> and the 12 valve engine and old style injector pump.
> I have 3 Mercedes diesels from the early 80's.  They are hard to kill.  I'd
> love to do a conversion and put the 5 cylinder turbo in a small pick up.  4
> wheel drive people love the engines and kits are available, ah if I were
> younger...

You kind of have to be a bit "special" (I know, I've owned a diesel
Rabbit) to be interested in mechanical diesels.  Current technology
common-rail computer controlled diesels have a lot better "wife

The real crime here is that Euro 5 and US emissions standards are not
harmonized.  An investment of a million bucks to certify a power plant
for US use is a lot to ask a manufacturer to do "on spec".

> There is a biodiesel coop in Baltimore.  The 2 attempts at coops in the DC
> area have failed so far.  For some odd reason biodiesel prices fluctuate with
> dino diesel prices, in lock step by demand.

Why do you consider this to be odd?  My Kubota dealer says B5 maximum,
but there's a lot of stuff out there that will eat B10 or B20.  If you
think of it as a fuel additive rather than as a fuel unto itself (like
B100), then it's easy to see why the price fluctuates.  Not as if
there's a huge amount of excess supply out there...


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