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Sometimes, it's what automakers don't offer in the U.S. that creates a stir – the diesel engine being one prime example. For years, U.S. buyers have been left out in the cold (mostly) while Europeans have had a vast selection of efficient, diesel-powered vehicles to choose from. With fuel prices on the rise, you'd think that automakers would at least consider adding diesel-powered vehicles to their U.S. lineup. Not Ford, though.

During a dinner last week in Geneva, Derrick Kuzak, Ford's vice president for global product development, told a handful of journalists that the automaker will rely on its fuel-efficient EcoBoost gasoline engines, instead of diesels, in the U.S.

Kuzak admits that Ford could "easily bring diesels to the U.S. market" but, he said, U.S. customers "are pragmatic" and most American car buyers don't want oil-burning engines. Plus, Kuzak told journalists, the automaker's EcoBoost engines nearly match the efficiency of its oil-burning mills. Furthermore, Kuzak said, since diesel fuel costs more than gasoline in the U.S., launching a lineup of diesel-powered Ford models simply "doesn't make sense."

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 64 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Last time, not that long ago, that I saw an engineering analysis of the operating efficiency of diesel vs gasoline engines, the diesel came out at least 20% more efficient in extracting actual power. In the (far) future, we might see a gasoline engine with a hybrid diesel technology that approaches diesel efficiency, but nothing like that is on the market NOW. What is on the market, as far as I can tell, are diesel engines, e.g. in the BMW 330d, which sacrifice little in performance to the gas bothers and which ACTUALLY achieve 30+% better fuel mileage.

      I have ridden in a diesel Golf in the U.K. which was getting 55 + mpg (yes the British "gallon" is slightly larger than ours), and that is much better than the comparable gas engine could/would achieve in that car in the "real world."

      I am not sure where the marketing people in the U.S. and even import car companies store their brains, but it doesn't seem to be that they are looking at the solid data from their own European markets on diesel operating economy.

      For my $ 0.02, the ideal drivetrain would be a DIESEL HYBRID with perhaps a 30 mile EV range and then clean diesel for extended freeway operation. Many are already willing to ante up $45k for a Volt, but put a diesel "range extender" in that kind of core EV and we are approaching an optimal balance in clean range efficiency AND it shouldn't cost more than another $2k vs the base Volt (IF that much, since many of us think GM is making $$$ from the Volt right out of the sales gate).
        • 4 Years Ago
        The British gallon isn't slightly larger, it's about 25% larger. And the UK system for measuring mpg is much more optimistic.

        That car you were in was getting the same mpg as a Cruze Eco (highway) and using what is more expensive fuel (in the US) to do it. And it probably had an even less powerful engine than what the Cruze Eco has, Diesel engines go down to 90HP (up to 140) in European Golfs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Geez, some further background, for I was not too clear (Sorry ...)

        1. I was actually downgrading the mpg that my British friend was reporting and further what I actually saw on his vehicle display, as that number was hovering at 64.x mpg.

        2. According to what I checked the British gallon is 20% bigger than our U.S. measurement.

        3. It is not and never has been clear to me WHY diesel IS more dear here than gasoline when in pretty much everywhere else in the world it is cheaper than gasoline. Maybe if we had more diesel volume as delivered and sold for cars, it might become cheaper???? Maybe ?

        4. But the point I noted initially "that diesel has a signficantly higher "energy value" than gasoline still remains sound does it not?

        5. And do we yet have "independent third party" mileage numbers for the Cruze Eco independent of Chevy? We do have many, many independent reports of small diesel cars in Europe and their highway (and even city) performance.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wont buy a gasoline powered vehicle ever again, ford just lost any hope of gaining my family as it's customers. Bring a diesel and we'll talk.
        • 4 Years Ago
        With his bias against the diesel, that's why Ford almost well bankrupt. Ford is headed by too many morons.
      • 4 Years Ago
      vtiman said:

      >>but people please dont say that diesel in europe is subsidised is is just less heavily taxed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hate it when automakers try to tell me what I want.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since the issue of particle emissions during regeneration was brought up, there are at least two studies which have characterized PN emissions during regeneration. One was a European study (Karlsson, "Measurement of Emissions from Four Diesel Fuelled Passenger Cars Meeting Euro 4 Emission Standards."), and the other was a U.S. study (California Air Resources Board (CARB), "CALIFORNIA’S INFORMAL PARTICIPATION IN THE PARTICLE MEASUREMENT PROGRAMME (PMP), LIGHT DUTY INTER-LABORATORY CORRELATION EXERCISE (ILCE_LD), FINAL RESEARCH REPORT." October 2008).

      Both studies DID show a significant increase in particle emissions of a DPF-diesel during regeneration (and again, particle emissions otherwise are indistinguishable from HEPA-filtered dilution tunnel air most of the time), but even then, the measurements were BELOW the levels set by Euro 5b (PN = 6x10**11 particles/km). Karlsson showed that during DPF regen, PN increase from around 10**8 to 1.39x10**11 particles/km. That's still lower than the very restrictive standard by a factor of almost 5.

      And a direct quote from CARB...


      "...Europe plans to establish an SPN standard for gasoline vehicles by September 1, 2014. It is possible that the standard will be set comparable to the standard for diesels, and thereby will force the use of GPF on gasoline vehicles...." (CARB, "PRELIMINARY DISCUSSION PAPER – PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CALIFORNIA’S LOW-EMISSION VEHICLE REGULATIONS – PARTICULATE MATTER MASS, ULTRAFINE SOLID PARTICLE NUMBER, AND BLACK CARBON EMISSIONS."
      Date of Release: May 11, 2010 (page 10))


      So according to CARB, gasoline engines won't be able to meet the Euro 6 limit without a particle filter if it's set the same as the diesel limit. Thus, diesel even when in regen has less particle emissions than most gasoline vehicles, never mind the vast majority of time that it's not in regen.

      Maybe diesels burn collected PM in a big "fart cloud" during DPF regeneration, but gassers emit a bigger "fart cloud" all the time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If this guy thinks Ford can make a gasoline-engined car that is the size of a Focus, costs less than 25 grand, and gets 45 MPG in combined city and highway driving, there's only one thing you can say to him:

      Go do it. Build that car and I will buy one.

      As it stands right now, my VW fulfills all of those requirements. But my Ford Focus fails spectacularly on the last one (mid-20s in city/highway, at best, with the smallest engine they make). I was so shocked I called the Ford dealer to see if something might be wrong with the car, but they basically told me to get lost.

      But since they are so in love with their own ideas about what I should want to buy from them, I guess that's Ford crossed off the list for good.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford also can't figure out how to provide a performance small car either. Ecoboost 2.0 with direct injection but only 250hp and front wheel drive?

        Ford has yet to provide a solid STI/EVO competitor. They cut off at 25K and call it a day, saying AWD makes the car handle worse and too heavy... Then they ignore all that they just said and build a one-off AWD race car. Next thing they are bragging about some more rally championships with their unavailable private AWD rally car that no one can buy and acting as if the consumer model is now better in some way. At least Subaru and Mitsu give the public their AWD vehicles, and now I sold the Ford and got one because I'm sick of being told what I want.

        So I sold my 97 Cobra, and now I drive an Evo. Ford can't tell me what I want in this market either.

        I'm already putting down over 370 at the wheels, with full time AWD, active center differential, and stock motor/turbo. Go do that in a Ford 4cylinder without rebuilding the motor or changing the turbo. After tuning the stock rating of 19 city/25 hwy looks more like 22/30 now. Of course I'll get 8mpg or less at full throttle during track days but that's because I have Mustang Cobra destroying power from 2 liters. Except this one also gets great highway mileage, only has 4 cylinders and 16 valves (compared to 8 and 32 in the Cobra), and drives better than a Focus in the snow.

        Ford is too busy telling me what I want to understand I just jumped ship as a huge mustang fan and now worship the AWD imports.....

      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kuzak, you are dead wrong. In 2000 I bought a powerstroke F-350 which I am still driving and which has been the most dependable vehicle I have ever owned. I have been disappointed ever since that Ford didn't offer diesel cars. Now I won't feel so bad buying an efficient diesel auto from someone else. Diesels will always be able to beat gasoline because there is just more energy in diesel than there is in gasoline, plus they have very good engine life. I heard Chevy was going to offer a Cruze diesel, so I might still have a chance to get what I want. Kuzak, I would like to be loyal, but you just don't deserve my loyalty.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Presently, the production of diesel and gas vehicles in Europe is almost 50/50. The difference of cost between diesel and gas vehicles is nigh to nil. Despite the high fuel prices in Europe, diesel pricing still has a slight edge on gasoline. A correct assumption for diesel vehicle prices is a matter of production quantities; or what came first "the chicken or the egg"?
        harlanx6
        • 4 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        At the best station near us the unleaded gas price and #2 diesel are the same. It varies. Sometimes diesel is actually cheaper. Diesel is cheaper to refine than gasoline. Why the price differences? It is a closely guarded secret.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let the market decide!

      At least allow us the choice.

      Also try a diesel hybrid, best of both worlds.

      That is the mindset that got the car companies in trouble... They know what's good for us... as we go to imports to fill the need.

      • 4 Years Ago
      In 2010, diesel cars had a 74.9 percent market share in Norway.

      Total fuel taxes per litre of diesel are about 30 percent higher than gasoline. Since diesel has a higher energy density, the fuel taxes per energy unit is about 44 percent higher for gasoline compared to diesel.

      The love for diesel cars is mainly caused by tax discrimination, not because of supremacy of diesel cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's my take on diesels and the people that drive them:

      "SCREW EVERYBODY BEHIND ME"
      (especially you assholes on the bicycles)

      What's green about that? I thought this was an environmentally concerned website?
      • 4 Years Ago
      take ford's european focus engine line up >>>>>>>

      the 2 litre diesel has similar performance to the 1.6 petrol ecoboost but has twenty % percent better fuel economy.

      the 1.6 diesel has similar performance to the 1.6 petrol non ecoboost but has forty percent better economy.

      so with recent usa average prices of £3.52 you would say the equivalent of 78 cents with the 2 litre and $1.56 with the 1.6 litre diesel.

      diesel was £3.87 usa average so 35 cents more but you would still save 43 cents per gallon. of course part of the reason why is because the govt takes more tax from diesel in the usa so that needs to be amended.

      but people please dont say that diesel in europe is subsidised is is just less heavily taxed.it is £1.32 PER LITRE in the uk.PETROL is slightly cheaper but diesels are still popular.

      diesel cars have a higher resale value and disel engines last longer and require less maintenance. i drive a euro accord tourer diesel ctdi which is an excellent enqine, smooth and torquey with no smell and is very economical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, in my state (california), the Feds take more tax out of Diesel, but the state takes less. It evens out to the same tax per gallon for both.

        And as to that the tax on Diesel should be less, no it shouldn't. Diesel contains 10% more energy per gallon (and 10% more oil per gallon) than gas, so it should be taxed 10% higher.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Do the math on the engines, he's right.

      Right now, in the US it's difficult to make a Diesel make financial sense. Yes, if you buy a work vehicle (especially truck, but car works too) and roll on the miles, a Diesel will save you money. But for most regular uses, a gas car, especially an affordable hybrid (perhaps a mild hybrid) costs less in the long run.

      And gas has a way to go yet. If people are really willing to put up with reduced peak performance to get better mpg, as Diesel passenger cars offer, then they companies can make long-stroke GDI gas engines that will get most of that advantage without having to go to Diesel and add a turbo and all that expense.

      I really want to see Diesels offered in the US where they make sense. But what I don't want to see is a bunch of hipsters asking we we aren't buying Diesels which aren't greener or cheaper in the long run.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let's not forget repair costs on a diesel. That alone will make up for any mpg difference.

        I'm not saying diesels are less reliable, just more expensive to repair when they brake.
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