My Diesel Beats Your Hybrid

May 23, 2010

I have been asked by total strangers more than twice in parking lots if I would sell my primary car, a 2003 VW Jetta TDI , with around 160,000 on the clock, more or less on the spot. Even with the prices I pay for diesel fuel here in the Pacific NW (nearly always cheaper than premium gasoline) my cost per single passenger mile is way lower than most cars of the same size, many cars that are much smaller, and any that are larger. Adding in initial capital expenditure, not so cheap maintenance and curiously short-lived headlights, my base cost per mile traveled is probably better than hybrids as they are now. Of course diesel is just gasoline in another form and we should and must stop using it.

 And so I am waiting for the everyman hybrid, hydrogen car, electric car; whichever technology wins a race that our government should fund with investment bucks to at least two competing winners. It’s a fantasy of mine.

 I live in neighborhood populated by a significant number of people still actively living in the fifties and sixties; at least from an automotive point of view. Huge trucks with empty cargo beds, uncomfortable seats, lousy rides and appalling mileage are often in my mirror or ahead of me. Perhaps the empty cargo area improves their AM radio reception; which would be appropriate, since that’s the era in which they are living. America can do better than this. But auto makers are still in heavy denial and are still even now pumping their anachronistic message to the market. What a weird business.

 And my other car? A 1995 Subaru Legacy Wagon with 250,000 miles on the clock. Made in Indiana, made in Indiana, folks, and still gets 28 mpg. Not as good as the 47 mpg the Jetta routinely achieves, but so much better than so many much newer rides. Arigato gozei mashita, Indiana! Viele Danke Wolfsburg!

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