RSS

The Bulletin

The top 10 Diesel Dogs

Posting in Energy

The peppy Polo from VW is a popular diesel car. This one gets about 70 mpg.

That's dog as in top dog, not what a dog.

And that's diesel, as in what you can put in a car instead of gasoline in order to get better mileage and emit less CO2.

Despite its long running reputation in the U.S. as a big environmental blight, diesel fuel actually delivers a greater wallop per gallon and softens the global warming impact, compared to gasoline.

Of course, your car has to have a diesel engine, which perpetrates internal combustion without using spark plugs. Rather, it compresses air that heats up and ignites injected fuel. Not only does the diesel engine outperform the gasoline engine, but it lasts longer too.

Given America's historical tendency - now changing - to turn its nose up at diesel, U.S. car makers have some catching up to do.

According to a new report from Pike Research, only two U.S. auto companies make the Top 10 list of  "clean diesel" car producers, none ranking higher than fifth. "Clean diesel" is a standard that meets environmental limits for soot, nitrogen oxide and other choking, smog-inducing pollutants.

The list is dominated by, you guessed it, European manufacturers. German brands Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW  take the top 3 spots in that order, followed by France's Peugeot Citroen, all ahead of General Motors.

Europeans have long paid a lot more money per liter of automobile fuel than Americans have - thus the popularity of fuel efficient diesel vehicles on the Continent.

The Top 10, according to Pike:

  1. Volkswagen Group
  2. Mercedes
  3. BMW
  4. PSA Peugeot Citroen
  5. General Motors
  6. Renault-Nissan
  7. Ford
  8. Mazda
  9. Fiat-Chrysler
  10. Mitsubishi

The U.S. ain't even Deputy Dog yet. But with a little more work, it should earn its star soon.

Photo: Volkswagen

More internally combustibles, on SmartPlanet:

— By on October 17, 2012, 8:05 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure