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Ok so I noticed that a lot of car companies (honda, toyota, vw, probably more) have several car models that aren't available in the US, but are more fuel efficient. If that makes since. IE their most fuel efficient models aren't available here. Is the explanation for this as synical as I'm hoping (maybe even grounds to move this to PO :p ) or is there something else going on here that I'm not considering? Also, what about cars they used to make like the VW lupo (sp?). Little diesel car that got +/- 60mpg, according to the guy from top gear. Are they still available? In the US? Anybody have good reasons for this stuff other than the whole 'craaazy oil company/car manufacturer conspiracy' thing (which, so far, is the only thing I can think of)?
 

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"El Bwana"
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Different countries have different safety, environmental, and market considerations.
 

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I'm a little out of date on this, but...

It's been a couple of years since I did a column on this, but until pretty recently, there hasn't been a demand here for those cars. Gas/diesel prices in Europe were three times or so what they were in the U.S., and they're used to smaller vehicles anyway. Americans got gas dirt cheap (still do, compared ot the rest of the world), equated big cars with prestige and were lining up to buy SUVs and pickups. People who blame GM for "not building what people want" forget that until gas prices took off, the dealers couldn't keep gas guzzlers in stock. It takes time to turn that ship around, but most manufacturers will be bringing some version of their Euro cars here. Ford has five or six coming, I think, and Chrysler is trying to hook up with Fiat. Should be some interesting diesels, too, but I dunno details on that.
 
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zmudshark said:
Two acronyms that are the reason we don't see the same cars in the US

DOT & EPA

Those 6 letters are a large part of the reason that the Mercedes Smart car which is sold in both Europe and Canada with a little diesel engine that gets about 70 mpg around town, while the same car is sold in the US with a far too big gas engine that gets about 30 MPG on the highway.

And for some reason, pretty much everyone else in the world ( except North America) go big time for small, powerful diesel engines.
 

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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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The european cars are generally more fun to drive as well, tighter suspension and most with manual gearboxes. Americans (in general) want quicker vehicles - think 0-60mph - which require more torque which leads to more displacement and thus lower overall fuel economy. It just takes a different style of driving and lower reliance on automatic gearboxes and small displacement engines are fun to drive. You just wind the piss out of them to go. I had a Nissan Sentra with a 1.6 and manual for a while that saw 3rd gear quite often on the highway in traffic just to be able to have the power to move around if needed.

Pretty much EPA, DOT, Big oil, and lazy Americans kept fuel mileage down.
 

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Captain Obvious
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i'm hoping to start and see more diesel cars. until recently, most of my local gas stations didn't have any diesel fuel. some that do now, rarely adjust the price down either. i think stations are required to carry it by some date in the near future since we moved to ultra low sulfur diesel.
 
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tomk96 said:
i'm hoping to start and see more diesel cars. until recently, most of my local gas stations didn't have any diesel fuel. some that do now, rarely adjust the price down either. i think stations are required to carry it by some date in the near future since we moved to ultra low sulfur diesel.
Diesel is a real hit and miss south of the 49th.

Up here I can get it pretty much anywhere.

Once I cross the line, in the west, it becomes more challenging to find it but I can still get it - until I get to California.

We drive down quite often and head to AZ - through California.

We have now basically just pulling into regular gas stations and pretty much just go the the highway truck stops.

Us and PeterBilts.

It would make it a lot easier to sell the cars if it was easier to find the fuel.
 

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There's plenty of diesel in Washington :) And I love my VW Golf TDI :D

I do not, however, much like how a lot of the diesel IPs tend to leak every time they change the diesel fuel standards (OK, so "every time" is kind of exaggerated considering it was done in the mid-90's, then again a couple years back). I have to get my seals replaced (WHY do they not sell full-Viton seal kits?!) on my '00 Golf with 80,000 miles. That, good sir, is BS.

Blah.

Oh and by the way, biodiesel DOES NOT smell like french fries, so please don't let me catch anyone saying that in here! :)

Edit: And I do believe that VW plans on importing either the Polo or the Lupo - little 1.3L TD. Can't wait for that :)
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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And then there’s the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Institute) that declares those small econoboxes as unsafe on the roads here in the United States… but that’s because when an 8,000 lb. SUV nails you, you ain’t walking away from the accident.
 

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Leopold Porkstacker said:
And then there’s the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Institute) that declares those small econoboxes as unsafe on the roads here in the United States… but that’s because when an 8,000 lb. SUV nails you, you ain’t walking away from the accident.
And we have a winner!. A SUV gets 15MPG or less and the owners never have any intention of using them for what they were originally designed for. (Towing and WORK !!!!):idea:
 

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Seat's not level
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Politicians. :rolleyes:

Dont' worry about it. Pretty soon you won't have a choice. Prepare for CHANGE
 

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jac44 said:
And we have a winner!. A SUV gets 15MPG or less and the owners never have any intention of using them for what they were originally designed for. (Towing and WORK !!!!):idea:
How true is this, though? Germany, for example, requires all cars to have annual (I think) checks to make sure they are safe for highway use. At 220kph on the autobahn, it doesn't take an accident with an SUV, and Europe does have trucks that are bigger than SUVs... then again, their roads are in a heck of a lot better condition than, oh, say, Michigan's.

Is it that our regulations are stricter, or just so much more convoluted that someone like Fiat needs Chrysler, who knows how to get their vehicles into the US market?

I'd like to see a comparison, because I honestly don't know. This is the best link I could find with a google search. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/us-automotive-safety-regulations-must-die/
 

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Gruntled
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toomanybikes said:
...And for some reason, pretty much everyone else in the world ( except North America) go big time for small, powerful diesel engines.
Remember that pretty much everyone else in the world, except North America, pays much higher prices for gas & diesel. Fuel prices in Europe are on the order of 4x what they are in the USA. As a result, there's much more demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
 

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Seat's not level
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Jim Nazium said:
Remember that pretty much everyone else in the world, except North America, pays much higher TAXES on gas & diesel. ... As a result, there's much more demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Fixed it for ya Jim.
 

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Beetpull DeLite
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- Less demand
- More strict emissions regs here
- Up until two years ago, we didn't have the clean diesel required for those cars
- Less demand
 

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Captain Obvious
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GirchyGirchy said:
-- More strict emissions regs here
- Up until two years ago, we didn't have the clean diesel required for those cars
i don't think most those european cars would pass our emissions tests.
 

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It's easy to blame EPA and car companies, but the fact of the matter is that American consumers are to blame. They bought SUVs, trucks, vans and cars with monster engines because gas was cheap. Then the price of gas went up and they all started whining.
 

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n00bsauce
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Virtually every gas station where I live has a diesel pump. Diesel is not hard to find.
 

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toomanybikes said:
Diesel is a real hit and miss south of the 49th.
Up here I can get it pretty much anywhere.
Once I cross the line, in the west, it becomes more challenging to find it but I can still get it - until I get to California.
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Is this a recent situation? I live just across the state line in Nevada, but I probably buy a third of my gas in California, and I can't remember the last time I saw a station without diesel. Mostly I'm on major highways, so maybe it's more available there, but everywhere I go, the diesel nozzles are right next to the other stuff, sometimes in the same pump.
 
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