Cars: and another reason NYS is backwards
What would you do if someone told you there was an SUV out there that had: A turbocharged V10 engine; 550 lb-ft of torque 310 HP And got 23 MPG. It's called the VW Touareg V10 TDI; it costs a lot of money, and it's out now. It gets better mileage than the available V6 and the V8 gas engines. That's right. Diesel. In Europe, VW sells a smaller version of that engine on the Touareg; an inline-5 cylinder TDI engine that gets over 30 MPG. For an SUV. Diesels have come a long way since the 70s. They're still super-efficient, but they can start in cold weather, you don't have to wait but a second or two for the glowplugs, and they don't stink up the place anymore. Super-efficient, turbocharged, direct-injection and pumpe-duese diesel engines are all the rage in Europe, where fuel costs over $3.00/gallon; diesels make up over half of the new car marketplace. The biggest sellers in Europe are Golf-class hatchbacks. A diesel will easily get 40-50MPG routinely. And it's a diesel, not a complicated electric/gas hybrid. As a matter of fact, at highway cruising speeds, a diesel will get better mileage than a hybrid Toyota Prius. The new diesel engines are available in 45 US states right now. They are unavailable in NY, CA, ME, VT, MA (all of which have adopted California's "CARB" emissions standards). Although CO2 emissions from diesels are at or below those from gas cars, diesel emits NOx particulate pollution. This is a smaller problem in Europe, which sells diesel fuel with a low sulfur content; a type of fuel that will be mandatory in the US in 2006. Bosch, VW, and Mercedes are working furiously to develop a particulate filter that will enable diesels to pass the strictest California and European emissions tests. Corning (NYS) will also be making them. I am a big proponent of diesel technology because it can help yank us off the imported oil addiction. With some modification, diesels can run on vegetable oil. In any event, up until this year, the DMV didn't even require cars outside the NYC metro area to get emissions inspections. That all changes in 2005, (for most cars). I wouldn't mind picking up a VW Passat TDI, which has a 1.9 liter pumpe-duese turbo-diesel engine, gets 38 MPG on the highway, and has loads of torque. It pulls 134 HP at 4,000 RPM, but more importantly pulls 247 lb-ft of torque at 1,900 RPM. The car has a 620 mile range on one tank. But I can't. Because of what Craig likes to call "Nanny Albany." I might be able to get one in 2006 or 2007, but VW hasn't confirmed anything yet. For more on modern diesels, go to this FAQ.