The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have

More shortsightedness in the US’s energy plans?

The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can’t Have

Ford’s Fiesta ECOnetic gets an astonishing 65 mpg, but the carmaker can’t afford to sell it in the U.S.

If ever there was a car made for the times, this would seem to be it: a sporty subcompact that seats five, offers a navigation system, and gets a whopping 65 miles to the gallon. Oh yes, and the car is made by Ford Motor (F), known widely for lumbering gas hogs.

Ford’s 2009 Fiesta ECOnetic goes on sale in November. But here’s the catch: Despite the car’s potential to transform Ford’s image and help it compete with Toyota Motor ™ and Honda Motor (HMC) in its home market, the company will sell the little fuel sipper only in Europe. “We know it’s an awesome vehicle,” says Ford America President Mark Fields. “But there are business reasons why we can’t sell it in the U.S.” The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.

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We need a complete turnover of Congress in Washington. Term limits now.

BTW: I added some :whacky: options to the poll just to make it fun.

I’ve owned a few Fords and all of them leaked oil like the Exxon Valdez. The only way you’re getting 5 people in this thing is if it’s used in a circus show.

Ford made a car for a certain market outside the US. Good for them, hope they succeed, and I hope they seal the freaken crank case unlike every other car they’ve ever sold.

But I still like the looks of an old Mustang :stuck_out_tongue:

Know what you mean. FORD means Fix Or Repair Daily :rolleyes: With my 93 Escort, it was the breaks and throttle.

I am more interested in US energy policy which makes diesels less desirable.

I spent the summer in the UK and had a small Audi A4 diesel sedan, it was giving me something like 40 miles per gallon and was a great car. I would love to have a diesel car here in the US. Diesels are roughly 30% more efficient than gasoline, the fuel costs roughly 10% to 15% more, so right off the bat the diesel is a better deal, even if it costs a bit more at the pump.

One of our BIG problems here in the USA is our EPA. We measure particulate emissions per gallon, over in the UK they measure particulate emissions per mile. There is a subtle but important difference. By measuring per gallon we are unfortunately unable to get some of the most efficient engines here in the US because they are not quite clean enough to meet our standards. But when you think about it, if we could get those engines we’d actually produce FEWER emissions because when we drive the distances are measured in MILES. So with a more efficient engine we actually would use less fuel, and therefore produce less emissions, even if the engine is ever so slightly dirtier. This is the main reason that most of the super efficient, and very clean, small diesel engines won’t meet our standards here in the US.

And since diesel is actually cheaper to refine, if demand goes up for diesel then we’d shift our production to it and the price would come back down. It was only a couple years ago that diesel cost 30% less than gasoline at the pumps. No reason why we can’t return to that. No reason why we should penalize diesel engines the way our EPA does.

Want to be more efficient and less dependent upon foreign oil, switch to a diesel car that uses roughly 30% less fuel per mile!!! Its really pretty simple.

Oh and don’t forget that diesel engines don’t have spark plugs, points, distributors, condensers, etc. so it is cheaper to keep up a diesel engine and the engines also have a useful life span that is roughly twice as long as a gas engine too.

/rant off!

The Euros like different cars than we do.

Betcha it doesn’t pass all US crash test standards either. At 65 mpg, it can’t have 350# worth of power gizmos like the typical US car does either.

Diesel is impractical in the USA because diesel engines get about 25% more mpgs than gas, but diesel FUEL costs about 25% more than gas: no $$$ savings. Worse, the diesel engine costs more to make and usually costs more to maintain (extremely high pressure fuel injection systems = $$$).

Diesel fuel costs more here because our refineries are set up for the type of oil we have the most of, light, sweet crude. This type of oil inherently contains more light distillates like gasoline. The heavier crudes are easier to convert to diesel and the Euros built their refineries for it because they had more of it at hand than we do.

Yes, but largely because of the cost of fuel. I was paying $12 per gallon for gas and $13 per gallon for diesel while I was there this summer. Prices have dropped a bit, but they are still over $10 US per gallon in the UK.

I’ll agree with you. But our 5mph bumper standards are silly.

I owned a fleet of small/medium trucks, the cost to maintain a diesel is FAR LESS than to operate a gas engine. Yes, a typical auto with a diesel engine costs about $1000 more than a typical gas engine, but it is CHEAPER to operate and CHEAPER to maintain. The extra cost of the engine is usually paid back in lower driving costs in a year or two at which point you are now saving roughly 15% every week in operating costs.

Not sure where you came up with 25% more per gallon for diesel versus gas, but gas is $3.85 and diesel is $4.20 in my city. That is a difference of 35-cents. That is LESS than a 10% difference. I realize prices vary, but even if diesel was 50-cents more, the price difference would only be about 15% more. Yet, diesel vehicles typically get 30% better fuel economy! So, diesel is actually CHEAPER per mile to run.

Just a couple years ago diesel cost 50-cents per gallon LESS than gasoline here in the US, how does your refinery model explain that?

It’s not clear that Congress has much to do with this issue. One of the main things that make diesel cars less profitable here are the CARB emissions standards followed by California, New York, and New England. Volkswagens diesels, the most common diesel cars sold in the US in recent years, were not available in those states. Recently VW has developed diesel vehicles that are 50-state compliant. I believe other manufacturers are doing likewise. I’m not sure what the problem is for Ford.

It took me more than 4 years to make back the difference on my VW, but that was with gas in the $1-1.50 range. It would certainly be less now, but since many people trade in their cars after a couple years, or lease vehicles for that time, it may not be the best option for them.

[quote=melensdad]Not sure where you came up with 25% more per gallon for diesel versus gas, but gas is $3.85 and diesel is $4.20 in my city. That is a difference of 35-cents. That is LESS than a 10% difference.

Diesel drops in the summer when there is less demand for fuel oil, at the same time demand for gas rises due to summer travel. As a result, there are usually a couple months during the year when diesel is cheaper than gas. This is the first year I have not observed the reversal - not sure why.

If I could get a diesel engine, that would be great. I’d make my own bio-diesel out of used grease from the two or three restaurants down the street, and I’d be sitting pretty. One very big problem: I live in an area where winter temps can get below 0 quite frequently. I can keep the car warm in the garage, but when I drive it to work there’s no way I could keep it warm enough to run.


I thought it was Found On Road Dead …at least it was with my 1988 150 and 2002 Explorer !!!

My question is why does it take Ford owners so long to see the error of their ways? For me it was trying to buy American…I gave up this year and bought a Prius

My truck fleet faced the very same problem. I live in an area where temperatures reach -20 and where we have multiple days in a row where the temps never get up to 0. There are many solutions to the ‘gelling’ problem, the easiest is simply to mix a couple ounces of inexpensive anti-gel into a whole tank of diesel fuel. It prevents fuel problems when temps drop below 0.

Of course if you buy diesel at the gas station they already put anti-gel into their underground storage tanks and sell you ‘winter’ blended fuel. So its no problem for a typical consumer. If you made your own bio-diesel you’d have to use an anti-gel or a fuel warmer.

My 25% figure was approximately what I observed on my 4,000 mile vacation this summer between Chicago and Montana. It is for the new ultra low suplhur diesel still being phased in in some places and required for all new diesel engines sold today. Where I paid just about $4, gallon, ULSD was going for about $5.

Diesel used to be a lot cheaper because it needed so little refining and its use was limited to semis, trains, heating oil and construction equipment. The last decade has seen continued upturns in semi miles driven and drastically increased sales of diesel pickups (which have gotten pretty darn good, but price a lift pump some time for me!). Combined with the extra refining for ULSD, the cost now pretty much permanently exceeds gasoline prices, even in summer.

Fleets that rack up miles quickly may be able to justify the cost. The average consumer driver sees his car chassis wear out before the gas engine does, so the diesel longevity is not much benefit.

Oh, I forgot: The new US diesel air standards out now require the use of a particulate filter that burns diesel periodically to clean itself. This further reduces the mpg benefits of diesel here.

My brother replaced his Wrangler with a Full Sized Diesel Pickup and he is getting way better gas mileage. He is also fortunate he lives near a couple of truck stops (Pilot and US Flyer) on I 95 so Diesel is plentiful.

BTW: Just checked the poll to see who checked #4. Was not too surprised. :cool:

I have never seen more than a 55-cent per gallon spread and I’ve purchased THOUSANDS of gallons a month.

Actually that is not correct. There are new US air standards, however they do not require the use of a particulate filter. They simply require the engine, in some way, to meet the standards. Some engines are clean enough, some use a filter, some us a urea injector, there are many ways to achieve the same result.


Any which way you cut it, a diesel engine is cheaper to run and more efficient. They save money and people are simply stuck on old thinking, are not caught up on the newer technologies, and don’t understand the realities if they believe otherwise. It really is that simple.

Which part of “where animals outnumber people” are you from? Can’t be between here and Montana. :wink:

I’m actually your neighbor, just a bit farther out from Chicago’s city center than you. Surrounded by corn and soybeans. Deer, coyotes, raccoons, feral hogs, pheasant, timberdoodle and blue jays are my neighbors . . . not to mention dairy cows!

Today fuel prices are up. I saw diesel at $4.28 and gas at $3.89. A 39-cent spread. Almost exactly 10% difference, so given that diesel vehicles typically get 30% better fuel economy that still means that diesel costs 20% less to run.

Shouldn’t it be the consumers that make the final decision on what bells and whistles they want on their basic transportation? This would include the fuel type. Living outside of the urban circle diesel makes a good choice for us as long as the engine was originally designed as a diesel.

I agree, diesel is one of the most efficient engine around. That’s why big ships like the Emma Mærsk are ran on diesel. Technology like recycling the exhaust, (mixed with fresh air, back into the engine for reuse) boosts diesel engine efficiency even more. The most powerful diesel engine in the world is rated at 134,102hp. Emma’s cruising speed is 25.5 knot and displacing 137,000 metric tons of weight. That’s aircraft carrier speed. For comparison, USS Nimitz carrier’s four propellers generate about 300,000 hp. The Nimitz’ top speed is classified, but the fastest speed from a carrier that I’d ever observed was 35 knots. Nimitz is roughly 95,000 tons.

Gas turbine is another engine that I think is even more efficient than diesel. If you put a gas turbine-electric engine in a Prius-sized car, you’ll possibly get up to a 100 mpg. Micro gas turbines are available everywhere and are cheap. Like diesel, gas turbine is also very reliable. Both engine can run 24/7 with a heavy load easily. Try that with a gas engine.

Has the number of diesel pickups really increased that much in just one year? At the beginning of July last year, the average price of gas was 2.93, the average price of ULSD was 2.84.

Maybe the bigger factor is the decrease in gasoline miles driven this summer.

I don’t think manualman was arguing otherwise.

Sure it should. But when you add 350# worth of power seats, power mirrors, power lock, power windows, power moonroof, heated seats, Nav, 100w sound system with subamp and woofer, ABS, stability control, 6 airbags and controllers…
it don’t get 65 mpg anymore! The 04 Jetta TDI (highly touted as a great one) only rates 42 mpg highway. Expect an Americanized Fiesta to have the same problem.

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