Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Absence of High Mileage Rating Diesel Cars in the
ccun.org, April 18, 2009
Why there are many European diesel cars with very high mileage
ratings that are not available in the US?
Different countries do
have differing standards in regard to how much pollution gasoline and diesel
automobile engines are allowed to emit, but the reason you see so fewer
diesel cars in the U.S. is more of a choice by automakers than the product
of a decree by regulators on either side of the Atlantic.
advent of the automobile age in the U.S., gasoline has been king of the
road; today upwards of 95 percent of passenger cars and light trucks on
American roads are gas-powered. And the federal government has done its part
to keep it that way, taxing diesel at a rate about 25 percent higher than
gasoline. A recent assessment by the American Petroleum Institute, an oil
industry trade group, found that federal taxes accounted for 24.4 cents per
gallon of diesel but only 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline.
Europe, where in many regions about half of the cars on the road run on
diesel, these tax incentives are flip-flopped, with diesel drivers reaping
the economic benefits accordingly.
But according to Jonathan Welsh,
who writes the “Me and My Car” Q&A column for The Wall Street Journal,
interest in diesels—which typically offer better fuel efficiency than
gas-powered cars—has gained significant momentum in the U.S. in recent years
given the uptick in gasoline prices. The popularity of diesels also surged,
albeit briefly, in the mid-1970s after the U.S. suffered its first “oil
shock” that sent gas prices through the roof. But gas prices settled down
and so did American fervor for diesels at that point.
with so much emphasis on going green, diesel cars—some of which boast
similar fuel efficiency numbers as hybrids—are on the comeback trail in the
U.S. Recently passed regulations require diesel fuel sold in the U.S. today
to have ultra low emissions, which appeals to those concerned about their
carbon footprints and other environmental impacts. Also, the increased
availability of carbon-neutral biodiesel—a form of diesel fuel made from
agricultural wastes that can be used in place of regular diesel fuel without
any engine modifications—is convincing a whole new generation of American
drivers to consider diesel-powered cars. Right now only Volkswagen, Mercedes
and Jeep sell diesel-powered cars in the U.S., but Ford, Nissan and others
plan to launch American versions of diesel models already successful in
Europe within the next year.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Coalition for
Advanced Diesel Cars, a trade group that represents several automakers as
well as parts and fuel suppliers, would like to see the U.S. government
increase incentives for American drivers to choose diesel-powered engines by
leveling the fuel taxation field—so gasoline and diesel could be competing
fairly at the pump—and by boosting tax breaks on the purchase of new, more
fuel efficient diesel vehicles. One hurdle is the relative lack of filling
stations across the U.S. with diesel pumps, but as such vehicles become more
popular, filling stations that don’t already offer them can relatively
easily add a diesel pump or two.
American Petroleum Institute, www.api.org; U.S. Coalition for Advanced
Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine