Are Diesel Cars Doomed In The USA?

Doomed in the USA?

Doomed in the USA?

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe VW’s despicable deceit will hurt the future market for diesel cars in the USA, like GM’s pathetic first attempt to make light-duty automotive diesels decades ago? The action was very different, but could a generally negative public perception of diesel power return? This article argues yes. http://autoweek.com/article/car-news/why-volkswagens-diesel-betrayal-different

The author makes valid points about alternative technologies getting better, heck, even gasoline-powered cars  have become extremely efficient and economical (if we buy those models). My guess is that VW’s 2.0L TDI engines could have met the standards, still drive well, while obtaining slightly fewer miles-per-gallon. How much less is the question. Maybe two–three mpg on the highway? If that’s the number was it worth the trouble VW? Would people have avoided purchasing TDI cars because the EPA rating was lower and/or the cars obtained slightly less mpg?

Maybe we will find out if there is an ECM update recall that corrects the programming, making the cars meet standards. If so I’ll likely do a back-to-back freeway fuel-economy test to document the change. When the 2.0L TDI engines conform there might be consequences, like the particulate trap might fill sooner, and the car may not meet emissions system warranty standards set by the EPA.

As a former owner of the 1.9L TDI with its relatively modest 90 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque (2000 specs), and a current owner of a 2013, no-DEF injection, 2.0L TDI Jetta Sportwagen that makes an impressive 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, the slight reduction in real-world fuel economy from the newer car remains impressive. Both were equipped with manual transmissions, which helps economy, performance, and driving pleasure. The ’13 2.0L has a 6-speed tranny with an extra cog on top, and the taller final-drive ratio lets the engine turn fewer rpm, which surely helps.

If diesel car sales are severely and permanently damaged in the USA  because of VW’s actions it will be unfortunate for enthusiasts, the engine design and technology has so much to offer, still. However, even if this does happen I’m confident it will not hurt the diesel truck market. The buyers are generally not the same folks, as the green diesel car market and the impressively powerful (and efficient) full-size light-truck diesels target different customers. Diesel-powered trucks and commercial equipment are going to continue doing work and moving freight for the foreseeable future. Decades.

©2015 James Langan/PhotoWrite/RoadTraveler