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Hybrids & Diesels - Deals or Duds?



  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    I think that even as a diesel owner, I have acknowledged the numbers. In fact I was the one who provided some of them!

    In a manner of speaking, as for RIGHT NOW (to address one of the issues) I really don't care much (as part of the 2.3-2.9% diesel population) for diesel and gas to have so called "parity. "

    Obviously, we can define parity in a few ways.

    But the fact of the matter, I spend close to ZERO time WAITING for diesel vs sometimes multiple lanes and cars deep for unleaded gasoline. Any indepth or quick look will probably indicate the reason why. So perhaps I should not have shared this observation. Not only do I almost never have to wait, but I almost never have to get out of anybody's way who is waiting for me to finish at the diesel pump. Dollars and cents cost benefit or penalty? Right now NONE.

    Even at truck stops, they dont want folks like me with the 10- max 20 gal fillup to get in the way and ire of those diesel trucks taking on 250 gal PLUS of fuel so they give us a segregated area.

    Hybrid? pick a numba and go to the BACK of the unleaded fuel LINE!? :):(

    The other gigs I see (side by side ownership) are:

    (this might not be sound bite able)

    If I drive my Honda like a Honda, I get maybe 36-41 mpg. (seems to be really good by the way, for a gasser)

    If I drive my VW TDI Jetta like a Honda(as in above), I get more like 55-62 mpg.

    If I drive my Honda like I do my Jetta on longer hauls I get between 32-35 (which is still pretty good)

    If I drive my VW Jetta TDI like a Jetta TDI, (as it was meant to be driven) I get 45-48 mpg!

    WOO HOO!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Well California is a HUGE automobile market so the availability of diesel fuel here does matter in the overall equation I think.

    I don't care WHERE you live----if you pull into service stations randomly you are going to find stations that don't have diesel. That's all I'm saying.

    It would be the same experience for you hi-test gasoline users, if, say, only one out of three stations had premium fuel.

    I had the same problem finding diesel in Nevada and have to do the "green pump driveby" or I got in the habit of only looking at the BOTTOM of the gas price signs (You can tell I've done this before).

    Of course, once you KNOW where your stations are locally, you don't feel like you have a problem anymore.

    I installed a long range gas tank for this very problem while travelling. (32 gallons X 26 mpg!!)

    Then of course I had the little plastic glovey, and the paper towels for the soles of my feet. Why can't diesel owners AIM properly? I think the oil spills are due to the fact that diesel nozzles in California don't have those bellows devices to capture fumes. It's easier to overfill your tank with a diesel nozzle and cause a "gush".

    A friend of mine has a TDI. It's way more fun to drive than a Prius, so I'd consider a used one. He's had good luck engine-wise--his problems haven't been with the diesel, just the rest of the car like his windows falling down into the door and the usual German electrical glitchery.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Shifty, you bring up another good point. Seems like when someone buys a hybrid it is almost like an unwritten rule and holy grail quest that one has to drive the car to get the most MPH: in keeping the hybrid name unbesmirched :)

    I also would agree the TDI is WAY more fun to drive than the Prius. (nothing perjorative here just my personal opinion)

    ..." I had the same problem finding diesel in Nevada and have to do the "green pump driveby" or I got in the habit of only looking at the BOTTOM of the gas price signs (You can tell I've done this before). "...

    We must travel in way different places in NV and CO. North Tahoe, South Tahoe, NV, NO PROBLEM at all! Reno/Sparks, NV, KNOWN truck stop NIRVANAs!! To me availability was more like what you envision for diesel. Las Vegas NV. NO PROBLEM. Diesel is available 3 blocks from where I usually stay. Diesel is also available ON THE STRIP!!! It is available on streets perpendicular to the STRIP. Henderson, etc. same thing. Durango CO to name one, Biodiesel and #2 diesel on the main drag to downtown!? Pagosa Springs etc etc. Biodiesel, USLD, #2, etc etc.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I'm not quite sure why you keep harping on diesel availability in California. Your government there precludes new diesel sales, thus severely limiting the demand for diesel pumps at "regular" (non truck) gas stations. Not sure how you can complain about the lack of diesel pumps when your state is artificially controlling the market by disallowing new diesel sales. Come to the midwest(visit though, don't stay, it is pretty boring) where I currently live and you will never hurt for a diesel pump. They are absolutely everywhere, with the "regular pumps" and they're just as clean/dirty as the gas pump handles 8 inches away from them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I'm not "harping" guys. :surprise: All I'm saying is something pretty simple---if you randomly drive into any service station anywhere in the country that's unfamiliar to you, not every station you drive into will have diesel fuel. You may have to pass a few up.

    I brought that up just in a breezy way to list why diesels don't have parity with gas cars. It was just one of a number of factors and these factors admittedly have different weight and levels of seriousness.

    Another lack of parity lies within the scarcity of good diesel mechanics for diesel CARS, for instance.

    Not every repair shop you go into will work on diesels either.

    Since diesel cars are a real tiny piece of the market in America, and have never been popular here, one would not expect a supporting infrastructure equal to gasoline cars. Kinda makes sense, doesn't it? :D

    Now if you REALLY want to crank me up, let's talk about how hybrid and diesel car owners are "environmentalists". :confuse:
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    As most folks know the so called environmental movement has an epicenter in Berkeley, CA. One might do a search to get their side of the story but a local Berkeley guy figured out the local Berkeley dump was getting unrelenting amounts of waste oils that could be converted to Biodiesel. Being a firm environmentalist with a fair amount of entrepreneurial fervor, he had to take on the environmentalists, to save the environment from the environmentalists. Starting a biodiesel stations was almost a HUGE and of course bureaucratic undertaking. I remember reading that this biodiesel coop produces and sells 30 to 40k gals of bio diesel per year.

    As for the crank up, it is common knowledge that hybrids can not per se lessen the dependence on FOREIGN oil. Yet diesel can be literally home grown (DOMESTIC) from soy beans, reclaimed from dumps, etc. It has been the regulatory agencies etc that have delayed the USLD from hitting the more common market. In fact, 5 states have banned new model salves starting in 2004 which will probably continue to at least 2007. So in fact, they have guaranteed the use of 500 PPM higher sulfur fuel . the 5 CARB states have to their credit have let the more common app 140 ppm sulfur diesel fuel in their states. But really I don't have anything against the new 15 ppm low sulfur fuel. The other is USLD fuel has been available but at a premium.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    There is a Canadian company with a patent on a process that can take agricultural plant buyproduct (the corn stalk, for instance) and make a fuel that when mixed with diesel will actually make it burn cleaner.

    In one move, you would be taking product now that often composts and gets in the water tables and other pollutes the ground, you would be making indigenous fuel, and you would be making cleaner diesel.

    Talk about win, win, win.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    This kind of stuff would never hit the hit parade if we all just bought into the continued use of unleaded gas. !!??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Well I think the idea of renewable fuels is much sounder environmentally than the concept of gasoline powered hybrids, the latter being at the moment not much more than the "redefinition of the status quo" rather than actually compelling the user to DO anything that approaches a sacrifice or a change in lifestyle. You're still burning a fossil fuel (ironically, old plants) which is not renewable.

    Corn stalks are nice, but of course you have to plant it, harvest it, process it, ship it--all that takes energy. What makes it interesting is the renewable part---you can grow more.

    America as you know uses about 25% of the world's energy and owns 3% of it. This can't be balanced out by conservation of existing types of fuel, not even if everyone in the USA owned a Prius. Not even close. Not even a Prius getting double the mileage it gets now. So forget that as a "solution" to the energy problem as long as it burns fossil fuel.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Well I honestly have no idea what the current use for corn stalks would be, but if they're just "trash" right now after the corn is pulled, then that would be a win-win. It is a byproduct of another process, so no additional energy is being expended in its growth.

    That said, they could be currently grinding them up and making body shells for Saturns at this point and I wouldn't know.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    I agree with your comment on plants for fuel to an extent.

    Simply planting corn or other grains for ethanol production does not appear to make environmental (or economical sense - the feds subsidize ethanol).

    What is exciting about the new process I mentioned is that the focus on using agricultural byproducts rather than the whole plant.

    We only eat part of the plants. This process has promise to allow us to use what we currently throw away.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Ethanol has no where close the btu power that bio diesel (from say soy beans) has. (farm products to farm products) In fact, the hit is usually about 20% less mpg. The math is pretty simple. However, ethanol weakens both the power output and is more costly and paradoxically burns MORE fuel.Also burned ethanol is not cleaned by the catalytic converters and if fact has been shown to cause equipment damage and also a lot of folks get headaches from being around burnt ethanol. In fact for industrial use, the EPA as banned the use of ethanol!!???? Oymoronic eh? So oxygenated unleaded fuel of 100 gals and oygenated portion is 10%, then really there is only a 90 gal demand ( as implementatio of the policy to try to decrease foreign oil dependency) . Also if you are used to say 35 mpg (which most cars do not get ) then 20% less mileage can be as low as 28 mpg or minus -7mpg. Ethanol is not as effective and efficient as #2 or bio diesel. Essentially home grown bio diesel has NO BTU loss. So as a consequence, the bio diesel would yield a min of 48/50mpg vs the 28/35 mpg scenario. So the implementation of oxygenated gas compared to say an implementation of bio diesel shows a loss of 44% fuel efficiency. Or the environmentalists would have you believe that 28 mpg is better than 48/50 mpg. :(:)
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    You do take a big hit on CA gas with the 10-11% ethanol. One Prius driver mentioned that from a trip he just took. It may be a big mess like the MTBE.

    I will agree about finding diesel in Orange county yesterday. I drove up and down Beach Blvd looking for an ARCO that sells diesel. I even stopped at one and inquired. The Indian lady did not know what diesel was. I made it home with fuel to spare. I thought of running some Chevron or Shell diesel that was available. I have only run the ULSD from ARCO so don't want to change. If you are picky about your diesel it is harder to find. Again with the 600+ mile range of the Passat it is not real critical. My overall average is still 32 MPG combined. Right on EPA ratings. And I always have the air on, and keep up with the 75MPH + traffic. Would not sell this unless I found a diesel I liked better, like the E320 CDI.

    For those wanting to use ULSD, this is a current list of all the CA stations that sell the ECD-1. It will say ULSD right on the pump. Much higher cetane than most truck stop diesel.
  • davem2001davem2001 Posts: 564
    See, that is exactly why I will stick with plain old gasoline for the time being. I don't like the idea of having to search for my next fill up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Having had two diesel cars and running both of them (not simultaneously) over a fairly long period, I'd have to say that the only real advantage I noticed over gas cars were two:

    1. economy per pound of car -- I was able to operate a large 4 door car for the price of a smaller coffee can type car.

    2. range -- I was able to extend time between fill ups noticeably, and also had a great reserve (fuel light on) range. I felt more at ease in this sense.

    In my opinion, these are two things that would appeal to American drivers, and if I were selling diesel cars, I would market those advantages.

    You notice I didn't include "lower maintenance costs".

    The reason I didn't was because my records showed that while each maintenance visit WAS cheaper, I had to do more maintenance on the diesel, so it basically averaged out. On the plus side, the maintenance costs for the large 4-door were about the same as for a smaller car. But I didn't "save" money on maintenance, just got a bigger car for the same buck-bang.

    Hope this is useful experience for someone contemplating a diesel car.

    BIODIESEL -- my experience with BD was generally positive, though limited. I just bought B100 from the pump, as I didn't really have the time to pick up, haul and process 55 gallon drums of used peanut oil from Chinese restaurants. I think you have to be 23 years old, stoned and living in Berkeley to really get into this kind of thing. ("time on my hands" as the song used to go). Actually sounds like fun, but I'm too far down the road to be an urban farmer.

    I did have to do two filter changes when switching to B100, and the main reason I gave it up is that I found I had to switch back and forth from B100 to regular diesel, because B100 pump is really hard to find. Once the local B100 source in my area gave up selling it, I gave up buying it. Also price was $3 a gallon.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Once the local B100 source in my area gave up selling it, I gave up buying it.

    That is a common complaint. I talked to the manager of the biodiesel plant in Bakersfield. He cannot keep up with the demand in the Bay Area. He even has to supplement his own TDI with #2 diesel from time to time. There is only one source in San Diego city area. They only sell B20. If I go out to the El Centro valley it is readily available. Seems the farm communities have it available. Many run it in their tractors. The buck a gallon subsidy has made it close to competitive. In So Dakota a friend runs B20 in his new F250 and never paid more than $2.19 per gallon at the Co-op. The price we pay for this sunshine. Well some days it is sunshine, not today...
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    After only 55,000 miles (of app >1.3m in gassers) I would agree. In fact if you compare gasser to diesel in a Jetta you are talking 32 mpg vs 49. If one wants the EPA ratings it is easy to look up at :)

    Because of the premium of the diesel motor to the 1.8T and the 2.0 one just does the math to see the break even points. Against the 2.0 the BE point is 60k. Against the 1.8T essentially it IS B/E at purchase. Also the 1.8T requires premium so the savings can be almost from the get go. Also for me, I would not buy a 2.0 motor in a VW and the 1.8T is suspect. So at times, one is forced to do an apples to oranges comparison. In my case 2004 Honda Civic vs 2003 VW Jetta TDI.

    The range is truly amazing in the Jetta because the tanks hold the same quantities, it is dramatic. (14.5 gals) 32 mpg vs 49 mpg is 464 to 710 miles. A diesel can go 53% more miles than a gasser.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    If it could be proven that B20 or B100 can reduce overall air pollution, then it SHOULD be subsidized, because it is possible that overall economic benefit in say lower health costs or less environmental damage to infrastructure, would more than offset the cost of subsidy.

    The problem with economic incentives is that people keep wanting to butt in with their VALUE judgements rather than just look at the payoff in dollars and sense.

    An extreme example would be that you could probably send a jobless teenager to Harvard for far less than keeping him in prison, but no one will do that because value judgments suggest he didn't deserve it.

    Leaving that aside as purely an example--hell, if it could be shown that health costs would plummet in my community (I mean, my tax supported health costs to others), I'd vote to GIVE people B100 for free, whether they deserved it or not.

    I know economists would love me talking like this, because it is hard "value-free" dollars and cents talk, but I don't expect most people to think like this in solving energy problems.

    I guess what I'm driving at is that we need a real BIG PICTURE view of how alternative vehicles fit into the scheme of things. How can we realize pay-offs from them, even non-drivers, and how can we make that happen?

    But first, THE SCIENCE has to be good and the numbers have to be good before I'm going to back any incentive scheme to increase the market share of BD or high mileage hybrids.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Your post brings up pretty complex issues. The science is already good.

    But to distill it, it gets down to the chicken and the egg. Not many folks will invest in passenger diesel, so there is little to slow growth. This of course disincentivizes EVERYTHING diesel, from research to get going on the state of the art pollution control systems. etc etc.

    As a matter of fact diesel sales in Europe are fully 45% of the passenger vehicle fleet and GROWING. So those pollution control devices EXIST and are on the market in Europe. They do not USE it here because the LOW SULFUR FUEL is not in or the STANDARD. In fact use with higher sulfur fuel will negate the benefits and kill the systems.

    So a way to look at this is would our current gasser cars pass the current emissions test on LEADED FUEL!? DAH!!? But then you have to acknowledge that if this 2005 unleaded gas resultsare the "standard" from 1979 to now, it has taken 26 years to get here with it!?

    Diesels from a regulatory view (among others) is at the same crossroads. However it is gettind done on diesels with a far far faster product to market cycle.

    As a foot note my 2003 TDI can burn the new 2006.5 low sulfur fuel with no modifications. In fact it was made to burn it 2 years ago when bought new.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Germany where the best diesels are designed has had ULSD longer than most of the EU. In fact a big share of the EU is at the mandated 50 PPM sulfur that went into affect this last January. They will not drop to less than 15 PPM (BP ECD-1) until 2009. The point being is the Germans have very good diesel to test with. They can get very clean burning engines. They remove the PM filter for over here as the 300 PPM sulfur diesel will destroy it in short order. The gasoline in most of the US has higher sulfur content than the new mandated diesel. One reason CA gas is more expensive. They have removed the high sulfur count.

    As for biodiesel, my model is the one in Hawaii. Pacific biodiesel was started to run the electricity for the dump. He saw the 140 tons of grease trap oil being dumped every month and designed a boiler to burn it. Now they produce biodiesel from old cooking oil and sell B100 at a very competitive price to the #2 diesel that is barged into the islands. This without any government subsidy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Well Hawaii does have the incentives of very high fuel prices, a strong environmental consciousness, and no good place to dump toxic or disgusting waste products---all of those are "juice" for biodiesel I think. Take those away and think about how hard it would be to start this program elsewhere.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Yeah I think folks are having a hard time seeing that if you add up what each dump HAS to process as a matter of course, it makes absolutely NO sense to burn it generating the energy but with NO work accomplished or money generated, SHOOT if they want to give it away to people like you and me, I would say it is a good use of tax dollars :) if indeed it will only go to waste?? So 140 tons is 280,000 #s/7# per gal= 40,000 gals of bio diesel fuel.Lets see at 50 mpg.

    I can go 2 m miles. and get almost totally off the grid!!!!! :)
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I'm not quite sure why you keep harping on diesel availability in California. Your government there precludes new diesel sales, thus severely limiting the demand for diesel pumps at "regular" (non truck) gas stations. Not sure how you can complain about the lack of diesel pumps when your state is artificially controlling the market by disallowing new diesel sales. Come to the midwest(visit though, don't stay, it is pretty boring) where I currently live and you will never hurt for a diesel pump. They are absolutely everywhere, with the "regular pumps" and they're just as clean/dirty as the gas pump handles 8 inches away from them.

    Sorry I am jumping in late here but I just discovered this forum. I am in Central California, so I know what is here. Diesel pickup trucks exist everywhere--and since pickups make up a large part of the market here, there is NO shortage of diesel engine vehicle sales and NO lack of diesel stations. Furthermore, many of us that farm, have our own personal tanks that we use for our tractors, trucks, and off-road engines.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Correct me if I am wrong, but CA agriculture diesel (dyed red) can be up to 500 ppm vs a more normal 140 ppm at the pumps.

    (dyed red diesel denotes also the road tax was not paid)
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    well, I just bought a 200 gallon tank of "off-road" clear diesel (again, California), with NO red dye in it. I paid about $1.70 per gallon. The seller makes me sign a document (just one time) that says I will not use it for on-road purposes. But, if I did use it that way, no one would be able to say it was "illegal". Pretty much the honor system.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    While folks might not agree with this observation, hybrids (by virtual of being mated to a unleaded gas engine) are the strongest aurgument, dare I say indication of behavior, that in effect: guarantees the future and further dependence on "FOREIGN OIL" !? :(:)
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Home free! (or is that 2.45-1.70=.75 cents CHEAPER!) .

    My take is the only objective test in the field is to look at the clear fuel line. If clear no problem if red, citation! Who ever looks!!??? :)
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    If you have a white truck and get sloppy it will show up below your filler. The only way to do it is with your own tank. Only one place has it close to me and they have all red dye farm diesel. Like was mentioned it is higher sulfur content. I am trying to do my part by using the ARCO/BP good stuff.

    $1.70 vs $2.41 is incentive.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    I agree, there is huge temptation to cheat. But I don't have a diesel vehicle yet, just a farm tractor. Given the sin nature of us humans, I am sure that there is cheating that goes on. Not sure how often the CHP pulls people over to check for red diesel. Probably more common with the big rigs than with the Ford, Chevies, and Dodges.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Diesel trucks aren't really part of this discussion I don't think. They are generally big nasty noisy things, and serve a commercial they are justified by that alone...they do real work a good deal better and more economically than their gas engine counterparts. Their advantage is quite clear in this instance.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    big rigs are big rigs.

    I am talking about the US pickup versions. There are more than a few diesel engines going into the Chevies, Fords, and Dodges. We just bought two GMC power stroke diesel pickups. Since diesel isn't allowed in California cars, that is one more incentive to buy a pickup. Go figure. What a wacked out state I live in.

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    That is what really gets me. I can buy a 1 ton PU with a diesel and not a VW diesel, that pollutes a very small fraction of the truck. Purely politics in CA.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    That's going to change quickly and those trucks will have to conform. Many may also be retro-fitted. California's plans to reduce particulate matter PM is very aggressive, something like 75% reduction by 2010. CARB has been in big battles with heavy trucking these past few years (legal battles), which I think they have all won, so now they can devote more energy to regulating the smaller diesel trucks and agricultural machinery (although they aren't targeting agriculture directly).
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    CARB has been in big battles with heavy trucking these past few years

    It may have the negative affect of moving back to rail service and slower delivery times. I don't think the railroads are to be affected until 2012. Plus there is a shortage of long haul drivers. Our Teamster local is always looking for young recruits. So many kids cannot pass all the tests. Especially the one in the bottle. Shipping will be impacted more than by the price of fuel. More old produce on the shelves. We are so spoiled.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Dunno. The legal issues were mostly about the "defeat mechanisms" used by out of state trucks to bypass their smog equipment during high speed highway use. California wanted to regulate "imported PM" and they were upheld legally in that regard.

    I've love to see the rails come back and thrive. Rail is a very energy efficient (perhaps not time efficient) way to move people and stuff. Unbeatable in terms of fuel used per lb. or per person. Even railroads are now introducing energy efficient, less-polluting diesel engines.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    The next ten years will be interesting. Long haul rail has definite advantages.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 19,826
    Rail travel is uniquely geared to moving large scale stuff; farm products like grain . coal, cement, sand, etc, oil and larger manufactured goods. Since as a policy we have been dismantling all of that for literally generations, the fall of rail travel has been a symptom. Our countries economy and time table has quickened not relaxed. So as a practical matter, I dont see what will fuel greater demand for rail travel. Yes perhaps the reignited interest in using domestic coal might yield great demand for rail use. However I think nothing will really happen till after a protracted fight over environmental concerns.

    Also the big rig or truck is really high 90's percent in keeping our economy running. I mean lets face it does it make real sense from that perspective to FED EX by air a product less than 1#?? NO! but yes!!???
  • hdctjhdctj Posts: 5
    Politics plus convoluted laws that push the limits of bureaucratic gobblydegook, for sure.

    When the CRD Liberty was announced I was very excited about it. The possibility of owning a car I could conceivably run off of soy or corn based fuel sooner than later especially was intriguing. To me this was more functional than a hybrid. The big questions about battery longevity and the ridiculous markup just turned me off of hybrid. I was all set to buy the Liberty once they came out but was peeved to find out they wouldn't be available in CA.

    But I am hopeful though. Caterpillar has been working with some European companies that are designing some amazingly effective catalytic converters for off-highway trucks & equipment. These CC's are on par with Honda for uber clean emissions and are already meeting EPA guidelines set for diesel emissions for ten years from now. Of course the big catch is that some of these CC's cost as much as a high end Benz right now. Eventually prices should drop and we'll see the tech on diesel light trucks & cars too I hope. But probably not before 2010 though.

    By the way, found this nice description on how a catalytic converter works.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    Conditions are ripe for diesels. Improved technology has boosted performance and reduced noise and smoke.

    The introduction of low-sulfur fuel next year will help companies meet tough emission standards. And sustained higher fuel prices have caused carmakers to seek fuel-saving technologies.

    Diesels have an advantage over gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains because they are less expensive and less complex to build. And they deliver about the same fuel economy gains as a hybrid.
  • hdctjhdctj Posts: 5
    "Corn stalks are nice, but of course you have to plant it, harvest it, process it, ship it--all that takes energy. What makes it interesting is the renewable part---you can grow more."

    True. Plus keep in mind that as the price per barrel of crude continues to grow, it will eventually be the same cost and even cheaper to go the bio route methinks. I heard somewhere that that convergence price was something like $80/barrel of crude. We could be at that point in the not too distant future even if the cost climbs at a conservative level.

    So I think leveraging biodiesel as one option for eventual replacement is a must. But not the only solution for sure. For the forseeable future, we need multiple options - not just one. Just one is the problem we have now!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Stir Fry? Light cooking oil?

    Would that yield less energy content, thus hurting range, though? ;)

  • 600kgolfgt600kgolfgt Posts: 690
    In the case of Toyota and CAFE, they need the mileage from the hybrids to bring up the abysmal mileage from their V8-powered SUVs and Pickups. So the perception that Toyota is an environmentally-conscious hybrid-building company is bunk at this point in time - and no better than the Big Three as far as CAFE is concerned...
  • ratbertratbert Posts: 22
    But then why wouldn't they make a diesel, which scores much better for the EPA ratings?
  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    I belong to the Jeep Liberty diesel forum and have spent a few minutes reading the controversy that this forum contains.

    To be frank with you, I am leery of the Prius or anything like it. They are terribly complex and overpriced for what they give you. In several articles I have read, it would take driving 15K / year for eight to ten years before I would start recovering the cost of hybrid technology as it exists today. If the price of fuel goes up, it will take a little less time. The other thing I learned that if the battery charge is at 20% or less, the Prius will not start. The other problem is that the Prius is a car with all of the limitations of a car. And you are still stuck buying gasolene.

    As for diesel, I want to say these few things.

    1. Fuel is readily available. I owned a diesel powered car in the early eighties and never had a problem finding fuel.
    2. For the VW TDI, the diesel engine costs $255.00.. That is a far cry from $3,000 - $4,000 for the privelge of owning a hybrid. For the Jeep, it is about $845 for the engine.
    3. I can use B5 biodiesel blend in my CRD and it has been tested to run at B20.
    4. Maintenance on my CRD is ridiculously simple. No sparkplugs. Oil changes are every 12,000 miles. Everything is easy to get to and not crammed into a shoe box sized compartment.
    5. Tons of very low engine speeds. I have 80+% of maximum torque at 1400 rpm with maximum of 295 lb-ft at 1800 rpm falling to 80+% at 3200 rpm.
    6. Diesel is 2.519. Regular is 2.479
    7. I grant you, my 2150 kg Jeep is no light weight, but 28 mpg on the highway is pretty good and I have no trouble merging with traffic at high speeds. The hybrid Lexus does about the same for alot more money and complexity. :)
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    EMISSIONS ...weren't mentioned. So I'll point out that even with low-sulfur diesel and the new TDI system, the smog-related emissions are only lowered to the level of acceptable. And biodiesel actually increases NOx levels, making things worse instead of better. Until diesel can be cleaned up to the "SULEV" level, it is not a good choice.

    COMPLEXITY a misconception. An automatic transmission is clearly more complex than a differential (power-split-device, there is no actual transmission) used in Prius. It is always engaged and never shifts. How can you get any more simple than that?

    CHARGE-LEVEL ...that comment is just plain wrong. Not much electricity is needed to spin an engine for starting. The battery-pack will carry the vehicle several miles using electricity alone. So there is plenty available.

    By the way, I have driven 98,000 miles total now with 2 Prius. I have never seen the charge-level below 45%. The "full" hybrid design simple doesn't allow that to ever happen. It sacrifices gas to replenish supply rather than letting it get low.

    MAINTENANCE ...brushless A/C electric motors don't need any, ever. The battery-pack doesn't either. The hybrid engine isn't worked anywhere near as hard as a traditional engine, with RPM being much lower and startup being far less harsh. So maintenance is less anyway.

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,450
    COMPLEXITY a misconception

    Good to see you posting. I would like to take exception with your dismissal of the complexity issue. It is not just the transmission that is involved. It is all the computerized control systems that are more complex. I believe that GM compared the Prius with one of their midsize vehicles and the Prius had 38% more parts than the less complex GM vehicle. Even more so if you purchase the Prius with the integrated NAV system. As one poor soul has found out that can be extremely expensive when the warranty runs out. Defective NAV on 2003 Prius $3800 plus installation. And we thought the replacement batteries were high priced.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Computerized control? Don't act as if traditional vehicles aren't loaded with them too. And GM counted everything, including all the non-moving parts. That's quite misleading.

    Of course, if you just step back and look at realiability, you'd have a better understanding of the actual situation. The system in Prius ranks remarkably high, near the top in fact.

  • winter2winter2 Posts: 1,801
    I would like to respond to some of the misinformation you have placed in your response.

    1. Charge Level: I spoke with three Toyota dealers this morning and the also with the Toyota people in California. All of them stated that the battery pack had to have a minimum charge in order for the vehicle to even start, never mind run. None of them could tell me what the minimum level was, but I intend to find out.

    2. Emissions: what you fail to state is one important item. An equivalently sized diesel engine produces 25 - 30 % fewer greenhouse gas emissions than any gasoline engine. The same goes for unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. As for the NOx problem, the data is mixed on that. I read at least twenty articles about this. Most state that this issue can be resolved by modifying the timing of the injection or by simply placing an additive in the fuel.

    3. Renewable fuel source and other environmental issues: remember, you are restricted to using gasoline, a non-renewable resource. That gasoline adds greenhouse gas from the past. I can use B100. My fuel can come from plant oils or animal tallow, both carbon dioxide neutral. No matter how clean you claim your vehicle is, it is still adding carbon dioxide from the past to the atmosphere.
  • amazonamazon Posts: 293
    Environmental Issues:

    The NOx can be addressed with SCR (Selective Cathalytic Reduction). Just a cathalytic converter for diesel.

    Also, per the new energy bill, the next generation diesels will also qualify for a tax credit. Expect a bunch of new diesels in a couple of years...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,104
    Let's be careful to not to let this slip from a conversation to an argument!

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