Or at least, that’s my takeaway from this interesting read on Slate. Counterpoint to the article on the front page about the end of diesels:
A person who owned a 2013 VW TDI SportWagen cashed out and got a check from VW after that whole shit show. Lifestyle: lives on a steep mountain with a dirt road, has a dog, takes a bike with her, etc. She found that petrol cars that got decent gas mileage (~40 mpg) were overwhelmingly on the small side (think Honda Civic & Mazda 3). EVs had terrible range and were not suitable for her cold climate. She tried a Prius and it “felt like I was driving a computer.” Desperate to find a car so she can just get on with her life, she eventually settled on a Kia Niro crossover hybrid.
The landscape, as I saw it—bleak and dispiriting—looked like this: If I wanted a car that was pleasant to drive, it would have less than optimal gas mileage.
Just goes to show how our market here needs more efficient cars that are larger and practical. Yes, that means more diesels. CAFE is not helping. CAFE makes fuel economy targets tougher on small footprint cars and makes it more lax on large footprint cars. People overwhelmingly buy large cars here. The upcoming Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain diesels which can haul your small family and are estimated to achieve over 40 mpg highway are a good sign of things to come. From GM, at least.
Let’s be real here. How else are car makers going to acheive fleet fuel economy targets when people overwhelmingly buy vehicles categorized as “light trucks?” The average age for a car in America is like 11 years old I believe. Who wants to pay over five grand just for a replacement hybrid battery? Wide open highways and suburban roads that blanket America are best for diesels to achieve maximum effiency (hybrids perform better in dense urban evironments). This is why diesel makes sense here in the States.