Biodiesel may be the answer to keeping diesels viable, biodiesel made from hemp is beginning to be developed and shows some promise as a clean burning sustainable fuel. I believe diesel is still the better choice over gasoline.
The government would have to heavily tax biodiesel, and therefore it would turn out more expensive than regular diesel. Diesel cannot be beaten for economy, even most hybrids cannot compete. If they just made hybrids with diesel engines it would make far more sense. Electric power for town use (zero emissions) and once the car starts travelling more than 30 MPH (the speed limit around town) then the diesel engine kicks in. At a steady 70 MPH, my car will get over 74 MPG on the highway.
What we have here is an unhappy compromise among "Saving Fuel", "Saving Money", and "Saving the Planet". The three are related, but not quite directly. I suspect most of us are a whole lot more interested in Saving Money than in the other two, politically incorrect though that might be.
Diesel engines are dirty (so are gasoline engines, but in different ways). Diesels emit particulates (soot) which governments have decreed must be trapped. This leads to particulate filters which clog and must be regenerated. Diesels make more NOx than do gasoline engines, which leads to catalytic converters and often urea injection. Those converters must be protected from the particulates, so must be downstream from the particulate traps.
Gasoline engines emit more CO (carbon monoxide) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) than diesels. It is easier to control NOx in gasoline engines because they have spark ignition so do not depend on the high pressures and temperatures along with excess oxygen always present in diesels. Careful control of fuel mixtures along with catalytic converters pretty well cleans up gasoline engine exhaust.
Both engines emit carbon dioxide (CO2) in direct proportion to the amount of fuel burned. Per gallon, diesel emits more CO2 than gasoline, because the fuel contains a higher proportion of carbon. CO2, using present technology, cannot be removed from the exhaust stream.
So far, the USA has not imposed the so-called "Carbon Tax" and with any luck will not do so. So far, there have not been any major tax incentives to encourage diesel or gasoline over the other. At present in the USA, it is more economical to run gasoline cars than diesels, and as a result most people do so.
Europe, which has few or no reserves of petroleum of its own, has taken measures designed to limit petroleum use. High taxes on fuel, differential taxes between diesel and gasoline in some places, so-called "Carbon Taxes" which in reality are nothing more than tiered fuel taxes, all are designed to force people to buy small, "economical" cars. Result - in reaction to government policies making diesels cheaper to own and operate, lots of little diesels. Further result - lots of particulate and NOx in cities, resulting in hand-wringing among politicians who in reality brought it onto themselves.
Okay, folks, start firing back at me. Only, make the accusations accurate and not based just on opinions.
The thing to remember is regardless of what policies the government comes up with, everything is blamed on the generel public as it's easiest and most profitable way of generating taxation revenue. You could say that motorists generate very few emissions compared to planes and ships, and yet we pay pollution tax. Did you know a freight ship uses 50 gallons of tar like fuel to move just 1 mile? And generates as much pollution as 50,000,000 cars? Thats just one of thousands of ships. Did you also know that passanger jets use 4000 gallons, about 15 years worth for an average car/driver, of fuel just to take off? There are tens of thousands of flights internationally and yet planes and ships are void from any emission regulations or carbon based pollution taxes. Go figure.
By cargo ton mpg, a freight ship is far more efficient than any passenger car. They are also needed for moving goods in and out of a country. An additional tax on their fuel will increase the price of goods. Assuming they just don't refuel in another port. The best a country can do is require them to burn lighter, cleaner fuel oil within their ports and waters.
Planes are more efficient than cars for moving people on long trips. A further tax on fuel will increase prices and discourage their use.
Personal cars are the major source of carbon emissions within the UK. Accounting for 63.7 million tonnes of the total 116.9 from the transport sector in 2012. Planes account for 0.5 on take off/landing and 1.2 cruising. National shipping emitted 2.2, with fishing doing 0.1.
The thing to remember here is that not everyone is an auto enthusiast or hobbyist. I'd say the vast majority regard cars much in the same way as refrigerators or washing machines, simply as a way to get a task done in the least expensive and least inconvenient way possible. For those people, automatic transmissions take away some of the unnecessary workload in the same way as automatic washing machines take away most of the work of laundering clothing.
Fair enough, and I don't disagree with you at all. I drive a tanker truck for a living, so I'm always shifting, and yet when I get into my little car, I just get complete pleasure and satisfaction of being in total control of what my car is doing. I've had a few automatics over the years (limited to choice due to finances, LOL) but the vast majority of vehicles I've owned have all been standard trannys. Even after driving my 10 speed truck all day, I still love my manual car. Some people drive out of necessity as opposed to pleasure... they're the "auto"
I dont think its just about being an enthusiast. I think its a shame. The way a manual gearbox feels is what gives a car its personality. German cars, French cars, Japenese cars, Italian cars, Modern cars, Classic cars, every gear change feels different and you can distinguish between each and every one. Autos just all feel and sound the same, consistantly bland. Just my opinion of course
+1 Too, don't forget, you need a bigger budget for brake replacement, especially if you drive in heavy traffic. Some would argue the same for a clutch, but not so if you drive properly in stop and go conditions. Leave following distance, and even at the slowest you can go, you can idle along with out touching the clutch pedal. I'm always worried about getting rear-ended like that though, as the car behind me must think I have no brake lights as I hardly touch the brake pedal either.
I'm wondering if more vehicles like the Chevy Volt are in store for us. Charon, Draigflag and trollbait, All your arguments are very good and accurate, and I've not studied the stats like you have. Still (stating the obvious here), some kind of fuel is needed to move anything regardless of what or where it is. Until they can come up with some kind of quick charge high capacity battery, we're all going to use some kind of fossil fuel. I'm not fond of the Volt (not for any reason in particular), and as I understand it it runs entirely electrically (until the battery depletes and it needs a charge) Then a tiny combustion engine kicks in and runs a generator to recharge the battery or it's plugged in to the mains, but the car is driven completely electrically, not by the engine.
Governments will do to us what they will come to taxing us. If they made a completely zero emission car, I'm sure they'd figure out a way to tax us for the wear and tear on the paint they use for marking the lanes on the road.
BTW.... "Volkswagen Jetta" Blah blah blah (Love the Jetta)(just staying on topic....lol)
I think the problem is that most of this new technology is new, and hasnt reached the stage where it can be mass produced cheaply yet. Even the Hybrids that have been around for over 15 years like the Civics and the Prius are still expensive as a new purchase. In 2008 I bought my first new car, and my first diesel car. It was a small 5 door hatchback and cost £6500 brand new (about $10,000) It averaged 65 to 70 MPG, over 80 if I drove carefully.
Some of the new hybrids cost three, four even 5 times that amount. I recently looked at an electric car as a second car for all my short urban trips, nipping to the shops, picking my gf up from work, going to work myself etc etc, but the battery lease cost £40 a month, and you're limited to 2500 miles a year. An electric car would therefore cost me double what my current car costs me, pence per mile. I think they need to build more hyrdrogen cars and develop that.
One reason hybrids are expensive involves all the extra on-board equipment. An electric motor-generator and a good-sized battery pack are added to the already present engine and transmission. This adds cost and weight. Weight is seen as the enemy to fuel economy, because more weight requires more energy to accelerate it from rest to traffic speed. Hybrids recover some, but not all, of that energy by converting it to electricity to recharge the battery instead of wasting it all to heat as brakes do.
For electric vehicles, batteries are not 100% efficient. Depending on the chemistry and charge/discharge times, they are around 65% efficient. This means it may take 15 KWH to charge a battery from which 10 KWH can be recovered. Recharging times are long, partly because batteries cannot be charged so quickly that they overheat and partly because of current limits of the electrical systems from which they are recharged. They also have a small loss of capacity every time they are cycled.
I drive a pickup as my primary vehicle. Naturally enough, it burns a lot of fuel. I estimate I use it as a truck about a third of the time, and as a passenger car the other two thirds. I looked into purchasing a more economical car for those miles. Using the assumptions I made, I came up with a gasoline savings of somewhere around 200 to 225 gallons per year. At the then-current price of gasoline, I'd save somewhere around $700 - $800 per year. Trouble was, the insurance and taxes on the car would run about $1000 per year, without even considering its purchase price. This is where the "Saving Money" thing enters the act. Yes, I'd "Save Gas" and "Save the Planet," but it would cost me about $250 a year to do so. No, thanks.