MUSCLE CARS: You Only Live Twice

A reader writes, Dear, Regarding your latest feature article on your home page, While I’m saddened by the prospect that we may lose what has become a new golden age of muscle cars, it’s not total doom and gloom as the article makes CAFE compliance appear to be. It is not necessary for everyone to convert to plastic electric econo-trash-boxes, just to meet the 54.4 CAFE average.

My 2012 VW Passat already beats that with real world fuel economy. No Hybrid technology, no plug in electric pulling down an antiquated power grid, just a clean burning diesel. It’s not a cramped slug econobox either. The Passat is a surprisingly large/midsize family car. It’s TDI engine is quiet, powerful and incredibly fuel efficient. With only modest restraint, I have achieved over 800 miles per tank on several occasions. I drove over 950 miles from Maryland to Orlando on slightly less than 20 gallons of diesel. 4 passengers, trunk packed and in perfect comfort the entire way.

VW knows the way and is making TDI power available across their product line. I’ve driven TDIs in everything from a polo, to the AudiTT TDI to the monster A6 TDI autobahn slayers. TDI power is a far cry from the pos 1980’s GM v8 diesels folks like to remember. Driving a TDI is far more like driving a V8 than a pos hybrid. While everyone is crying about overstated average fuel economy ratings, I’m smiling at my UNDER RATED midsized family car.

One way to easily up the CAFE figures is to rid the planet of the SUV and their sub 20 mpg average fuel consumption. If you need utility, buy a much more fuel efficient minivan or station wagon err, sorry, SPORTwagon with a reasonable turbo diesel engine. If someone truly needs a 4wd Pick up truck, make them buy commercial vehicles instead of $60K leather lined testosterone supplements. If the Federal government would tax non-commercial users of diesel fuel the same as gasoline, the price disadvantage of diesel would disappear immediately and Americans would figure out what Europeans have known for years, diesel is a better fuel. I’m no tree hugger, but diesel, whether it be mineral based or bio-based from, should be the dominant fuel of the next generation of US highway vehicles. John Narvell

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