Diesel Powertrains Face an Uphill Battle

  Ram EcoDiesel II

Getting people comfortable with diesel powertrains may be more difficult than some diesel fans might want you to know. Sure, heavy-duty pickup truck enthusiasts understand and know all about the benefits of a diesel powertrain, but according to a new Harris survey that might be difficult for the younger-than-30 crowd.

According to the Detroit News, Harris surveyed almost 3,000 people 18 and older to find out how knowledgable or experienced they were with a car or truck with a diesel engine. Nearly 75 percent had never been in or driven a vehicle with a diesel engine. That likely means they don't understand how different, more powerful and more efficient today’s diesels are compared to noisy, smelly diesels of the past, which seem stuck in the U.S. collective memory.

Ford offers several types of small turbodiesels outside the U.S. market (like the I-5 DuraTorq in the popular global Ranger platform) and has announced a 3.2-liter I-5 baby Power Stroke engine available for the coming fullsize Transit van, but according to our sources, there is no small diesel set for the F-150.

The Ram 1500 is the first new half-ton truck to offer a modern turbo-diesel (called the EcoDiesel, it’s a 3.0-liter V-6, pictured above), but you can bet all the other manufacturers will be watching the Ram’s sales numbers when it becomes available early in 2014.

Likewise, the next-generation Nissan Titan will have a 5.0-liter V-8 Cummins turbodiesel, and rumors persist that a diesel could be offered in one or both of the new midsize GM twins (Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon), one of which, we're hearing, is set to debut sometime very soon. GM tells us the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will go on sale in the fall of next year.

Ford Ranger 3.2L I-5 DuraTorq Diesel

Ranger-diesel II

 

Comments

truckin - you need to look beyond the USA border.

Ford is bringing a diesel for the Transit van. The Ecoboost and 3.7 V6 are going into that same van. It would take little time for Ford to introduce a diesel for the F150. The global Ranger runs diesel engines and it has similar tow/haul capacity as the F150.

GMC - They have 2 diesel options for the Colorado globally.

Toyota -WTF do you think gets run in the Hilux in the rest of the world ?

Truth be told, Ram isn't ready either. VM Motori 3.0 Ecodiesels are piling up in Italy due to a "problem". Some say they need to reprogram the ECU (computer glitches are rampant at Fiat LATELY). That engine is rumoured to be USA emissions NON-compliant.

@Jim - "It is hard to find diesels in rural areas".

You gotta be kidding?

Every piece of heavy equipment runs on diesel, generators run on diesel, heaters etc. run on diesel.

Most guys I know who aren't driving fleet trucks are in diesel pickups. That isn't because they need the tow capacity, it is much easier to run the same fuel in all of your equipment.

@devils advocate

Did you respond to any of my points? I am referring to what it costs to BUILD THE ENGINE.

You used at least 200 words and never responded to my point except to make an idiotic comment about my being 62.

Do you have any %%$$& idea of what you are talking about?

They cost more to build but they last 2-3 times longer. That has to count for something.
Hows 214 MPG for a diesel/hybrid. No gas/hybrid comes close.

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20131111/CARNEWS/131109829

A recent study done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute done March of 2013 shows that the "Total Cost of Ownership" is superior with a diesel as opposed to the comparable vehicle with a gas engine.

http://www.dieselforum.org/files/dmfile/20130311_CD_UMTRITCOFinalReport_dd2017.pdf

If one looks at Ford, Ram, GMC, and Chevy - this is how it breaks down:

TCO benefits:
Ford........ 3 years - $1,395
................ 5 years - $ 763

Ram........ 3 years - $67
............... 5 years - $573

Chevy ..... 3 years $3,673
................ 5 years $1,278

GMC .......3 years - $2,720
............... 5 years - $2,613

If you consider the huge price premium for a HD diesel, those are amazing statistics.

The Ecodiesel in the Ram is just a few thousand over the 5.7.
The Canadian Truck King challenge posted all of the MPG results and the Ecodiesel was superior to all of the gassers under the same conditions.

MPG average - best to worst (Thanks - Posted by: uh huh | Oct 30, 2013 5:48:49 PM)

1. Ram 3.0 = 20.9
2. Ram 3.6 = 18.3
3. Tacoma 4.0 = 16.9
4. F150 3.5 = 16.4
5. F150 3.7 = 15.9
6. GM 5.3 = 15.8
7. F150 5.0 = 15.7
8. GM 6.2 = 15.5
9. Ram 5.7 = 14.3
10. Tundra 5.7 = 14.0

For those of you that think a diesel engine is so much superior to a gas engine when cost and maintenance is factored in, is only kidding yourself. I had 684,000 miles on my 05 GMC with the 8.1 when I sold it. I tow rvs for a living and there was not a day in Indiana when I would listen to another individual complaining about how much he had to spend on a repair to his diesel engine. One day alone, there were four individuals with blown diesel engines in their Ram pickups with under 300,000 miles on them. The ones with 4500 and 5500 trucks did not get any better mileage then me with my big block. I owned one diesel and it did have more torque but I would never own another diesel engine again. And with the new more powerful gas engines coming out now with more torque and horsepower with better fuel mileage, I can see less diesel engines being sold in the future.

It not usually the engine that goes on a pickup but the rest of the truck. If the engines last 800K fine but you better beef all the other compents up to match the engine life. I've never gotten rid of a truck because gas engine died its always because the rest of the truck is shot.

@Greg, @Ron

Agree re: Diesel vs Gas

It comes down to simplicity and objectives. If you have a fleet of big 18 wheel trucks (or ships) something like gasoline's out of the question. If you own one half ton truck, or a truck and a small SUV like me, my needs are met by a gas engine.

The big block GM engines like the 455 Olds and the old Caddy and the 454 are great examples of iron big blocks that can do double duty--passenger vehicles and towing vehicles. The V10 Ford and Ram engines ditto.

These gassers produce a lot of torque without the diesel headaches.

Diesel is a very interesting approach because it burns a liquid fuel that has WAY more BTU per gallon than gas or alcohol, but it has trade-offs for cost of initial deployment. Once you've made the investment in a fleet of diesel vehicles, you can't go back.

@ Lou BC

The Toyota Tacoma does not count in the MPG ranking of the total average MPG unloaded, hauling, and towing. If you re-read the article it states "The smallest truck, the 2014 Toyota Tacoma, hauled 3,500 pounds.". Which is why it got better fuel mileage at towing then the other trucks that towed almost twice as much.


As far as this article and diesel's are concerned. I will NOT buy a less power and capable engine(diesel or not) just to conserve fuel. I will gladly pay more for a diesel if it meant me getting more power, performance, and capabilities. So what if my truck burns though half a dinosaur of fuel to get my trailer up the mountain first. I would gladly pay for it, and would do it again if it meant I was able to have better performance unloaded too. Also, I thought us guys bragged about who's engine had more power, performance, and capabilities? Since when did we all brag and get excited about fuel mileage only? What has Al Gore and the rest of the liberals done to us?

Big Al from Oz
chill out. I tend to agree with the comments of a lot of people you mentioned and I've noticed a lot of others do as well. Pretty much nothing anybody says in the comments can be verified or proven. Almost everything that is said is just an opinion that may or may not be accurate. Just because you don't agree with everything they say doesn't mean they are wrong or you are right. Sometimes there is more than one right answer! sometimes it may be true for one person or group of people and not for someone else! There are a lot of trolls on this site, but your annoying and LONG double posts and arguing with other commenters all the time makes you (in my book) as much of a troll as the guy that's always posting GUTS GLORY RAM.

@Beebe

I completely agree that Big Al from Oz needs to cut back on the double posting and trolling. I think as for the Ram people, there is more than one person posting that, and the reason they keep at it is because it provokes a reaction. The best thing to do is simply ignore it as with all other trolling.

To get back on topic, the whole perception of the general public in regards to diesel became highly negative by GM's failed diesels of the 70's. That is pretty much a fact and most would agree on that, though there is always room for argument. The problem was that GM's early diesels were not primarily focus at HD pickups, it was both passenger cars and and their trucks. Since these diesels were meant to appeal to the vast population of car buyers, the failed diesels scared away many potential diesel buyers as well as more diesels from being released by other manufacturers. Additionally Oldsmobile lost many life long customers. I don't think they ever regained that lost ground.

The important thing to realize is that from that time period until now, the vast majority of diesels have only been in HD pickups and semi trucks, perhaps with the exception of older diesel Mercedes cars and the new VW's. This means the amount of people who have had experience with diesels is limited and a very small subset of the general population.

Starting in the early 80's with Ford putting the IH diesel in it's trucks and then with Dodge putting the Cummins 12v in the late 80's there were definitely reliable diesels offered, however, only HD pickups buyers knew about diesels and their advantages.

Like others have said already, I think the younger generation is open to giving diesels a try. Probably the strongest perception that needs to be overcome is that of how noisy and dirty diesels are. They have improved a lot in both areas. Since most diesel have been in HD pickups and semi trucks, the noise and pollution has been all the more noticeable and that's what sticks in everyone's mind.

@MadMax3
"This is again "poisoning the well" journalism. This comparo is in 100% of the articles, since even the TDI was introduced, guaranteeing that nobody product will ever make it to market. Shame on PUTC, again."

I wonder if the problems with gravity feed fuel systems and hand cranked starting are bought up discussing Petrol(gas) engines.

@Beebee and Diesel Mechanic
I really don't mind if you disagree with my views.

I'm correct in my assumptions as can be proven by countries that encourage diesel usage like France. Their vehicle market has many parallels to the US vehicle market, but in a polarising way.

15-20km outside of Paris you will see miles of canola. Why? The same reason you will see miles of corn in the US. Both heavily protected and subsidised to supply bio fuels to meet their respective governments regulations.

My point of view is probably more valid than most regarding the take up of diesel in the US. Australia has been through the same situation of 'protected' gas engine manufacturers
If I was you guys I would spend a day and go into the vast EPA site and read up. You will be amazed.

Simply put, the manufacturers respond to regulatory requirement in which they have significant input with others like the UAW, EPA, etc.

Like I stated here diesel is more aligned to international movements of crude whereas petrol (gas) retail pricing is cyclic, weekly. Why? Because most diesel in Australia is used by industry and business. Petrol is used by everyday consumers, who get paid weekly.

You will find this is also affecting the price of diesel in the US along with the fact diesel globally is becoming more and more popular, supply/demand situation impacting diesel pricing.

The US will go diesel, CAFE now will ensure that. Diesel is a much cheaper option than gas/EV hybrids.

When you two guys understand industry, trade, politics, on a global level and not just in your township or county then we could have an interesting debate.

Chrysler Group dominates this week's recall roundup, mainly due to a recall of approximately 1.2 million Ram trucks for a possible problem with the left tie-rod assembly. Additionally, Hyundai is recalling its Genesis models for a potential braking system issue. Following is a rundown of the past week's safety recalls, listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer.

Chrysler Group-Various Models

Chrysler Group, maker of Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram brands in the United States, is recalling 620 vehicles equipped with its corporate 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine in order to replace the engine balance shaft modules. In the affected vehicles, abrasive material has contaminated the balance-shaft bearings, which could result in oil pressure loss, main bearing failure, and engine damage leading to an engine stall.

Models affected by this recall include the 2013 Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger, the 2013 Dodge Journey, and the 2014 Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. A total of 525 200/Avenger vehicles, 54 Journey vehicles, and 41 Compass/Patriot vehicles require repair. Chrysler anticipates that repairs will begin in January. Owners with questions can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403.

2013 Dodge Mopar '13 Dart


The special-edition 2013 Dodge Mopar '13 Dart is the subject of a recall for a problem with its side-impact air bags. An outside company modified this model's unique front seats, and the side-impact restraint installation process was not consistently followed, which could lead to a reduction in air bag function.

A total of 421 vehicles are affected by the recall, half of which remain in dealer inventory. To resolve the problem, dealers will inspect the side-impact air bags. If they have not been properly installed, the dealer will re-install the air bags at no charge to the customer. Owners will be notified in December, and dealers may start inspections by the end of the year. Concerned owners can call Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee


A total of 91,559 Jeep Grand Cherokees built for the 2014 model year and assembled January 8, 2013, through August 20, 2013, are being recalled. In the affected vehicles, loose alternator ground wiring and software malfunctions may cause random illumination of warning lights and could cause the anti-lock braking system and stability and traction control systems to stop functioning.

Jeep dealers will update the Grand Cherokee's software and tighten the alternator ground wires at no cost to the vehicle's owner. The recall is expected to begin in November of 2013. Owners with questions can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403, referencing Chrysler recall number N58 or NHTSA recall campaign ID number 13V483.

2003-2012 Ram Trucks

Chrysler will recall and inspect 1.2 million Ram pickups built between the 2003 and 2012 model years in order to find approximately 475,000 of the vehicles that are equipped with left-side tie-rods that may have been misaligned during assembly or during subsequent dealer service. Misaligned tie-rods can lead to tie-rod failure and a loss of steering.

Three separate recall campaigns will be conducted for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other global markets. In the first, dealers will be inspecting approximately 842,000 units of the 2003-2008 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 in order to identify about 116,000 trucks that may require repair. In the second, dealers will be inspecting approximately 294,000 units of the 2008-2012 Ram 1500 MegaCab 4WD, Ram 2500, and Ram 3500. In the third, 43,500 units of the 2008-2012 Ram 4500 and Ram 5500 chassis cab models will be inspected.

Chrysler will notify truck owners of the recalls in December, and repairs are expected to begin in January. Owners with questions can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403, referencing NHTSA recall campaign ID number 13V527.

2014 Ram Trucks


In a separate recall from the tie-rod issue described above, Chrysler is recalling 8,370 units of the Ram 1500, Ram 2500, and Ram 3500 built for the 2014 model year. In these vehicles, assembled July 1, 2013, through August 22, 2013, the instrument panel warning lights may illuminate at random intervals or may fail to illuminate to indicate a problem.

To resolve the problem, dealers will update the software that controls the lighting. The recall is expected to start in November of 2013. Owners with questions can contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403, referencing Chrysler recall number N59 or NHTSA recall campaign ID number 13V486.

@Hemi this is a story about diesel engines. Your very long comment is a bunch of press-release crap relating to recalls and tie rods. Dude! Stay on topic please!

"...But we also know Diesel engine particulates cause more cancer than a gas engine...."

We know no such thing. Gasoline PM has HIGHER levels of PAH, which is the carcinogenic component of particulates. Gas PM also has been shown the be much more mutagenic than diesel PM.

DPFs (filters) remove particles down to background levels anyway.

@ High Mileage

The 22 mpg was suburbia at 5k feet. Lots of stop and go with stop lights and 1/4 mile to 1 mile runs in between.

I logged 27.9 mpg today on a 10 mile run that was mostly highway between 68-75 mph, with about 1/4 of it suburbia.

All of this is off the trip computer - I haven't filled up yet. 154 miles logged and the range estimator says 395 miles left on the tank :-)

The whole "diesel faces an uphill battle" line seems to be more a case of media hyperbole than real facts. Is the press "towing the party line" dictated by the Detroit Dinosaur Automotive industry?
I am sure that when Fiat buys out VEBA, we will see more diesels enter the product mix.

The survey size of 3,000 in itself is inadequate to give a legitimate picture of the USA auto industry.

This is a myth perpetuated by the industry just like the myth that Millennial's (18-34) are not interested in vehicles. It is more a case of those in that demographic have poor job prospects and/or are stuck in poor paying jobs and therefore cannot afford a decent ride.

@Lou I'm always a little reluctant to respond to Lou posts because of the trolls.

Re: this article and diesel, I am curious to know if you're suggesting that Detroit has an agenda, regarding diesel and wants to inhibit its use in passenger cars and light trucks.

@HEMI MONSTER AKA HEMI RAMPAGE.

You know how stupid you sound using the guts glory Ram slogan and then putting Ford after it.

How is the EcoDefect Fiat/Chrysler engine better than the Duratorq? Because you say it is? At least the Duratoq was built by Ford, the ECODEFECT was built built by VM Motori.

ALL GUTLESS!!!
ALL GLORYLESS!!!
ALL GARBAGE!!!
ALL TRASH!!!
ALL TURD PLACE!!!
FIAT/RAM!!!

@papajim - There does appear to be a reluctance on the part of Detroit companies to embrace small diesels. There are those who feel that EPA regs hinder or handicap diesels. I've read that the refining industry is geared to gasoline production. A large amount of heating oil is consumed which should be replaced by natural gas.
Some more paranoid types have stated that the USA military consumes massive amounts of diesel and jet fuels which is a reason why diesel products are unofficially discouraged.
It does seem odd for the USA to push ethanol blended gasoline, hybrids, and full battery power when a small diesel can perform more efficiently than hybrids, and can run on biodiesel that is easier/cheaper to make than corn ethanol.
I do feel that the title "Diesel powertrains Face an Uphill Battle" is both true and a self-fulfilling prophecy at the same time.
Like the old belief that diesel engines are dirty and noisy, if enough "experts repeat that phrase, it makes us believe and accept gasoline engines or hybrids as the "end all be all".

@DeverMike/Paul/Tom Lemon/Greg Baird/TRX4Tom/Dave/Hemi V8/Tom Terrific/sandman 4x4/lautenslager/zveria/Bob/US Truck Driver/Glenn/Jason/Hemi Rampage/smartest truck guy/Maxx/SuperDuty37/Ken/Ron/johnny doe/jim/ALL1/Frank/Idahoe Joe/The Guy/AD/Casey/papa jim/Young Guy/BeeBe or whoever you want to call yourself.

Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

Cummins 5.0 V8 in a school bus!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgNmLotzuo0

I'm sure it will be more than enough for a Titan.

@Lou:
Refiners are businessmen just like the rest of us. They will go where the money is.

They have huge investments in capital equipment--the chemistry of the actual refining of crude is pretty standard stuff.

Are there agendas? Probably but it's hard to imagine that the refiners are operating contrary to their own best interest.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the reason I have not personally made the move to diesel is cost--it still costs more to buy one, vs gasoline engines. Due to perverse tax incentives it still costs more to buy diesel at the pump as well.

My truck is years away from being replaced unless I win the Lotto. Ditto for my wife.

My wife and I each drive less than 12k miles per year. Whether gas, hybrid, diesel or public transportation--whichever option, the cost of making changes probably exceeds the projected benefit.

Fuel prices will have to go WAY up to change the dynamics of the above analysis for me personally. If I had a fleet of trucks or if my gear had to haul huge loads, it would be an advantage to choose diesel.

@papa jim
Have a look at the amount of fuels shipped across the Atlantic.

The US is shipping diesel to the EU and the EU is shipping unleaded gas to the US from the North Sea. In large quantities.

Wouldn't it make more sense if the EU had more gas engine vehicle and the US more diesel. A balance.

But what about the corn farmers getting their ridiculous subsidies to grow corn for ethanol? What about the 54% tax on imported ethanol?

I think you have to look a little deeper than the US consumer will not support diesel. Look at what regulations impact the choices made by the consumer.

@big al, appreciate the reply but please consider the context. I'm all for free markets. If US refiners think there's a better market for their products in the EU, their research must support that conclusion.

I think we agree that the EPA and other US policy-makers distort the markets via regulation to such an extent that it often warps their own intentions, or at least is counterproductive. Ethanol is a great example. I've probably written about Methanol-from-coal on this site to the point where everyone must think I'm crazy, so I understand your remark about the taxes and subsidies.

I like to limit my remarks to topics I know something about and unfortunately I know little about the chemistry and the mechanics involved in petroleum and refining. I do understand that US policy in this area over the last 40 years, along with dreadful decisions at US Dept of Treasury are making things worse for producers and consumers.

BIG AL
Your condescending remarks are a perfect example of why I think you are a troll. I didn't even read most of your earlier posts because they are so long and so slow to the point. so I don't even know if I disagree with you and I never said I did. I'm just telling you to CHILL OUT. Your last response was a perfect example of my point. You write some LONG and boring response to somebody that doesn't even care what you have to say because you are an Australian that clearly doesn't see eye to eye with most of us here in the USA. And you think you know more about the US market than any of us living here? From the few posts of yours that I don't skip over you clearly don't understand the way a typical American truck buyer thinks. I'm just annoyed skipping over your long posts all the time and you and LOUBC overwhelming the comments in every article. How do you have so much time to read, reply, and rereply all the time?

@Papa Jim - I currently cannot rationalize a small diesel for myself since I don't have a long enough a commute to keep the emissions system running at maximum efficiency.
I support small diesels because they make more sense than hybrids or ethanol subsidies. I do think that we will slowly see more small diesel engines show up.

@Beebe - thanks for the feedback as you are one of the posters on this site that has a respectable opinion. Many of the posts are underwhelming and to have an intelligent dialogue with those seeking a valid exchange of information often requires longer posts. I like this site and enjoy commenting.

@Beebe
Am I a troll because you disagree with my views?

Am I a troll in your eyes because you consider me non or un or anti American? Or as you state in a distorted fashion "most of us in America". Who the fu#k are they?

That's a emotive and imflamming comment to try and gain support from other commenters on PUTC. So why are you trying to distort my argument via some spin?

Come on, get real. Like I stated I haven't had to opportunity to debate you. But this is a forum site, you will have disagreement.

But I think to call me a troll is a little over the top.

You can increase your content on PUTC, no-one is stopping you. If you have certain views and I disagree or agree I will let you know.

A classic example is Robert Ryan and myself disagree on how to manage the 'shutdown' of the Australian vehicle market. Am I un or non or anti Australian?

You should expand your mind a really learn what an anti whatever is.

Many misuse the the word "anti" like many misuse the word professional.

As I have told you in the past if you want to debate/argue particular points or ideals I will accommodate you.

But stop with the attempt at building resistance to my comment. Are you a back stabber in real life?

@Lou, if you have a short commute, the amortized cost of a more expensive powerplant takes longer to hit the break even. It's the same issue I have.

Most of my driving is trips that last less than 30 minutes. as you point out, the diesel is just getting warmed up.

@papa jim
I agree with you that diesels are not as beneficial as gas on shorter regular journeys.

Cummins and other manufacturers have been working in that area.

But the amortirised costs of running a vehicle isn't as significant as some would think. People do look at the economy of running a vehicle.

But if the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle was hugely significant people wouldn't buy V8 pickups that are mid to high spec.

I'm sort of in that situation with my pickup, I didn't buy it just because of it's FE. There are more economical 4x4 utes out there.

I bought it because of a number of reasons. I actually think I have saved $30 000 by purchasing it over a Land Rover Discovery or over $10 000 over the Grand Cherokee Limited diesel.

People generally will work out how much money that have in the kitty then start researching what are the best options.

Not many will go out and say I want a Ram Powerwagon or a Raptor or whatever. Most of us aren't tied to a brand or model.

The more money you have the easier it is to buy what will suit your requirements.

In my case I will probably spend another $2 000 on the suspension which will give a very capable off roader.

This is why I think the Colorado will sell, especially if a diesel is offered. Too many are to wrapped up in how big and how fast you can get. Whereas most just want a truck to fulfill their requirements.

@Big Al

I believe in the States that American buyers (particularly new trucks) are more focused on a specific Identity than drivers in other parts of the world.

When I was in high school a guy my age would have been embarrassed to show up in his date's driveway with a pickup, even if it was new.

In those days, sedans and coupes were commonly equipped with powerful V8 engines and provided bragging rights for guys who cared about elapsed times, tire smoke and gasoline.

Once our EPA and Congress killed the V8 sedan, the vans and pickups were the remaining refuge for that sort of rumble. Even today, with some notable exceptions.

@papa jim
It was quite similar here in Australia with motor vehicle back then as in New Zealand and I would suspect Canada.

V8s I think will not be around in a decade. When I say not be around I mean in the mainstream consumer vehicles.

The idea that our nations are purely 'large' vehicles and can't change is a bit of a misnomer. We have changed. The US has changed as well as the Canadians.

In less than 20 years I think you will see a vastly different vehicle market.

In 2004 I remember GMH and Ford Australia stating that they would be around for an eternity because they had the largest ever sales numbers of their large vehicles. Look at us in less than a decade.

There has been no pain in the transition. I think all markets irrespective of product is very flexible.

Look at styles of food in Australia, completely transformed within a 20 year period. Food you would think from a cultural perspective would be harder to alter than what kind of vehicle do I buy to drive to work in.

Vehicles and what kind of vehicle to own is emotive and dreamlike to many. In the end they will buy whatever is available for the coin they have.

If we only had hybrids and EVs that's what we would drive.

@Big Al

Appreciate your thoughtful reply, Al.

Consider this: Financial issues will dictate to a much greater degree than we can presently imagine. For example, net worth of Americans today is very low on average, compared to that of Australians (per capita over 150K (US dollars) to less than 40K.

Credit Suisse calculates that the United States, at $38,786 per adult, is a relatively poor performer, not only lagging small outliers such as Luxembourg ($153,967) and Switzerland ($87,137), but also well behind Japan ($141,410) and Canada ($81,610) — with barely 20 percent of the median wealth of category leader Australia ($193,653). Australians, according to that CS report have literally 5x the net worth of next generation American retirees.

If the US consumer finds himself in the same boat as his global neighbors in third world countries like Mexico or Greece, the choices available for adoption of entirely new transportation modes will be limited to the available resources, which is to say--not much.

If diesel fuel prices in the US were lower, then I think we would see a much larger take rate on diesels.

@Mike Z totally agree!

Reduce the pump price for diesel to the point where it offsets the extra cost of buying the more pricey motor -- let's say a 2 year payback-- and I guarantee you'd see a LOT more buyers.

It ain't gonna happen here. The Feds and state/local take too much in taxes from diesel to make that work.

@ Papa Jim

Yup. TAXES. I wonder how much we could reduce oil imports if the Fed and States would just allow diesel to flourish here as it does in Europe.

@MikesZ
You might not like to hear this, but increase tax on gasoline.

The government needs cash. Increasing fuel tax marginally to match diesel would improve diesel vehicle sales. The other benefits would be less pollution, less reliance on the US for imported energy, repair and build new transportation infrastructure.

People will not be out of pocket like many would try to claim as people still would purchase vehicles they can afford to operate.

As much as we like our motor cars and pickups, they are in the end tools. When we buy tools for work we buy what's necessary to get a job done.

@papa jim
Australia started this 'saving for retirement' well over 20 years ago and the saving have gradually crept up. Plus we have a very high home ownership rate.

This 'forced' savings is one of the reasons why Holden and Ford can't compete.

I do think compulsory contributions towards retirement will be a relief here in Australia down the track when multitudes of baby boomers really start to retire.

I have noticed in the US that there are quite a few 'retiree's' working, not by choice either. Here if you want to work in retirement you can.

Maybe he US can do what we did in Australia and 'steal' the better policies and regulations from other countries.

The slump in real estate in the US also didn't help. The saving people thought they had in their homes was eroded.

@Big Al,

We have a fundamental divergence on the role of government.

The ideal government uses fewer resources and gets more done! Our government in the US consumes massive resources and cannot get out of its own way.

The states in the US that have growing economies and low unemployment are those with the lowest taxes on income.

Please do not confuse home ownership for prosperity. Housing is simply a commodity. We need shelter. Capital is fluid and can be harnessed to serve my wishes but not if it's locked up in some old house nobody wants.

Where I live in Florida, we have so overbuilt that one in five homes is abandoned. The whole retail banking system here has been built to finance housing and cars, instead of securing the value of the dollar. As a result, the dollar is weak and housing is crashing.

If the central bank wasn't printing Monopoly money, things would improve eventually, but I don't have my hopes up for that. The US dollar was once the envy of the whole world--today there are countries that are discussing the idea of going off the dollar.

Our government borrowed 40 cents of every dollar they spent last year and now they want to tax even more. Raising taxes on fuel won't help. Weaning our rulers in Washington off of the public teat might be a place to start.

@MikeZ and Big Al

The people who want to see a major shift away from traditional fuels like gas and diesel applaud higher prices for those commodities. Unfortunately, driving up the cost of energy in a manufacturing economy kills job creation and weakens employee benefit programs.

A better approach would be a long-term shift to nuclear power for electric generation, and expanded use of electric cars for personal transportation. The diesel could be saved for heavy equipment, over the road trucking and maritime uses.

In the near term, any improvements will have to utilize the existing grids and distribution infrastructure for using and transporting fuel. Ethanol is not the answer. Over time, liquid fuels will need to be reserved for long distance trucking, maritime, aircraft--all places where you can't easily stop and plug in your 220 volt cord.

This is all good ( as a prior commentator said, if it sounds good for you, it's correct....).
If production costs were to go down due to increased demand, then the cost of a deisel will go down accordingly, as well as the price of deisel for the same reason.

The new Audi has a deisel in it, and i would consider that before I bought a newer camaro.
There is a mindset of 'build it and they will buy it', so we need to build more of what we want and BUY it, rather than have all these 'worth-less' cars driving our buying habits.

Not my favorite subject, but if the govt. would build incentives into deisels, instead of gas-guzzlers, => production costs down due to demand.

And why can't I buy a new deisel ranger? I can't even import one from mexico or brazil.

What have we done to ourselves?

Have a good one, whatever your choice.......

@HEMI RAMPAGE- no one cares for your cheerleading. RAM makes a great product but will never be the best at everything.

@papa jim- careful with the Dodge V10: 8 mpg and lots of maintenance costs. If you get a well-maintained one you might get lucky.

Objectively, light-duty diesel's make a lot of sense. The ROI calculation is simple- at some point there is a break-even, just like on a hybrid or CNG powertrain.

@rampage

I have a lot of experience with a Ram 2500 v10 that a friend owned. He had zero engine problems. His troubles had to do with the old automatics Dodge had in those days.

He regularly pulled a very heavy (overloaded?) trailer with it and the engine was amazing. Almost 500 cubic inches equals grunt.

Since I don't drive a lot of miles every year, I can have whatever I want in the way of big engines.


Unless they make a diesel for the Canadian Arctic, I'll stick to my V-8 Hemi gasser. If you are run diesels for the Arctic, a Cold weather diesel (-45C) are a must.

The gasser vs diesel debate has been ongoing over at fordtruckenthusiasts.com for a long time. I.e. Does it make sense to pay x amount for a PS diesel, or run the v10? Not an easy answer. On one hand you have a gas sucking v10 for less Capitol outlay, vs. a more fuel efficient PS, one would think in the long run a diesel would be the way to go. However based on repairs and overall durability, the v10 makes a strong case for itself. Then it's a matter of torque, again the V10 acquits itself positively. So it's not always a matter of torque (ecoboost makes the same 420 ft lb. Torque as the ecodiesel), or even longevity as it's common for vehicles to wear out before the drivetrain. Diesels are popular for if you are hotrodder and want to turn up the wick. To me torque rules, however I also like the purr of a refined gas engine. Within this current HP war comes a small diesel with commendable torque, albeit with 125 fewer ponies than an ecoboost - it better get great FE!

Shawn, this is no place for objectivity! Get out!!! :). The diesels will gain some in fuel economy, but will add expenses elsewhere no doubt. They are really for the person who tows. The towing economy for a diesel barely suffers in comparison to a gas engine. Also peak torque at 1,800 rpm instead of 4,000 rpm. That means it will hold higher gears while cruising and won't need to downshift to 2nd as much to keep momentum. That's enough to make me want one.

I agree with some of the other comments on here about the comparison of diesels from 30 years ago to current diesels, they are not even close to being the same thing. It would be like trying to make the correlation between rotary dial phones to current smart phone technology. Are they both phones, yes, are they even remotely similar, no. Modern diesels use ULSD Fuel, have turbocharging and high pressure direct injection, they don’t smell and have plenty of power, so how is it even remotely similar to diesel engines from 30 years ago besides the fact that they both use diesel fuel?

@Jason
All good points, but you leave one key complaint about diesels untouched: The Cost More to Build

To recover the extra cost of buying diesel, you have to have really great fuel mileage, lots of heavy work to do and sensible prices for diesel fuel.

For those who drive 20k-plus annually, it begins to be a great deal. Diesel is also great off road.

There's a market for people who will pay extra for the advantages of having a diesel but I'm not sure it's a winner in the US.

@papa jim
It also costs more to build a V8 than a V6.

It costs more to build a highend truck than a base model.

People still buy highend V8 pickups even though some don't really need them. Call it 'freedom of choice'.

I think the same rule could be applied to a light diesel. Most of your full size trucks can be run on my 3.2 Duratorque a much cheaper diesel than the diesel going into the Ram.

So, why wouldn't someone buy a mid spec pickup with a diesel fitted for about the same price as a V8?

Look at the cost of that $27 000, Pentastar, 8spd Ram with the shutters and lowering suspension, etc. It only has a 6' bed and can only tow about the same as a Taco.

How much would that Ram cost with a 6spd and a VM diesel, with the fuel saving crap removed. I wouldn't think it would have cost as much as the $27 000 and it will get near on 30mpg on the highway.

Diesel will also become more popular as CAFE bites further into pickup size. How much is the lightening of the F-150 going to add to the cost of the pickup?

All these things are costing like the Ram I described above. This is the future of the US full size truck.

As diesel increases in popularity in the US prices will drop as well due to competition.

I think diesel will help keep the full size truck from going to the grave anytime soon.



The comments to this entry are closed.