You wouldn’t think the best part of planning a trip to Ireland would be selecting a rental car.
But it dawned on me today as I browsed the Irish car offerings… I’ll have a whole world of cars at my fingertips that I can’t even touch living here in the U.S. I can rent a Ford Fiesta, an Opel Corsa, a Peugeot 206… a Mercedes C-Class diesel.
Maybe they’re not the greatest cars in the world, but it’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of nothing but desserts for me – pure heaven.
I’m also wondering (again) why in the world we don’t have as many diesel options in the U.S. as Europeans do. I know the automakers like to say it’s because Americans haven’t gotten over our poor experience with the dirty diesels of the past. Those days are over, though, and cars like the VW Jetta TDI are proving that diesel works.
Edmunds’ AutoObserver posted a story about Cadillac’s diesel plans, which says,
GM product-development higher-ups are adamant that diesels are too costly for the U.S. market. They require complex and expensive exhaust aftertreatment (“onboard chemical factories” is one term repeatedly employed) to comply with the world’s toughest diesel-emissions standards – and U.S. diesel fuel is not taxed advantageously, as it is in Europe, where diesels have captured more than half of the region’s light-vehicle market.
I came to three conclusions from that quote:
- GM is putting the idea of a diesel that conforms to U.S. emission standards in the “too hard” pile. (It’s not too hard for VW, BMW, or Mercedes, though.)
- Selling gasoline provides the government with more tax revenue, so selling more diesel just doesn’t make sense.
- Europe is smarter than the U.S.
Considering the U.S. is about two decades behind Europe in diesel offerings, we’d better get on the ball, or we’ll completely miss the electric-vehicle movement too.
Germany’s government has announced its intent to get one million EVs on the road by 2020, largely through financial incentives offered to Germans who buy electric.
All I can do is thank the stars that we finally have a president who understands the importance of alternate fuels and is investing in America’s electric automotive future. As a friend recently said,
I think it’s great that Obama seems to take our gas/car problem seriously and has invested significant money in battery technology here. Nice that we got rid of the oilman who seemed perfectly content to let American automakers keep building cars that would ensure his buddies would keep making money hand over fist.
Will the U.S. ever catch up with Europe, or will it always trail in automotive innovation?