I considered buying a VW Golf TDi Diesel which gets incredible gas mileage, but its reliability track record and synthetic oil requirements scared me away.
The reason why diesels aren't here in the U.S. now? General Motors. Yup, Oldsmobile to be exact. Some "brilliant" engineers back in the late 70's decided to quickly convert their 350cid V-8 into a diesel without really following-through. "Better fuel economy!" they boasted. Basically, the blocks, pistons, and rods weren't reinforced for the increased compression, and most engines blew up very early in their lives. This single event has seriously soured the public on diesels. Old Mercedes around the same era smoked like a chimney, so the vast majority of Americans became officially anti-diesel.
I'm 28, and this new generation needs to get back on the diesel bandwagon. The up-and-coming EPA standards for diesel to be contain a much lower amount of sulphur is on the horizon and diesel is (hopefully) making a comback, such as the Jeep Liberty Diesel. New diesels don't clatter, smoke, or smell funny. Can we give diesel another chance?
I'd sell my soul (don't believe in it) to the devil (don't believe in it) for a VW Lupo. Drove the piece of crap around the world (24k miles on all the continents sans antartica) and it averaged 114.x mpg.
Thinking of that, you are the type of person who would like a idle stop system, I'd think.
In the 70s Popular Mechanics had an article on how to build a car that gets 110mpg. They used the body from a small car of the time (can't remember the car, but it will come to me) and they put inside of it a small diesel tractor engine that got around 30 horsepower.
i've considered doing the same thing to a CRX or a Metro since they are so small. Acceleration would suck, but for long trips you'd be king of the world.
While deactivating my cylinders, I was probably using all of 50 hp and it was uneasy not having that power out on the highway. When I'd flip the switch back to all 4, it was like NOS kicking in. Basically, I would loose power and considerable speed on the hills. Driving in America needs horsepower for the Interstate. For city driving, this tractor engined deal sounds good, but out on that open road, you need the juice.