"Clean diesel" cars are cheaper, more readily available and more accepted in the market than hybrids or electric cars, according to a white piper published by former Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta. Holy crap, car enthusiasts have been trying to tell the world that for a decade.

In the paper, Mineta throws a roundhouse kick at the Fed's current policies toward increasing cars' fuel efficency and reducing emissions. "Our policy leaders appear smitten with finding a silver bullet that magically solves all of our problems and the focus is currently electric vehicles and electric technology," concludes the paper. "Instead of prescribing technology solutions that the market does not support, federal automotive policy should be geared toward achieving efficiency and emissions results." He paper continues, quoting diesel's edge over electric cars in cost per efficiency achieved:

High efficiency ICE vehicles could achieve a remarkably higher effect on the environment than other competing technologies," the paper continues. "The average additional cost for a high efficiency ICE is about $2,000, against $8,000 for an electric vehicle. Diesels continue to demonstrate the ability to meet consumer needs without being cost prohibitive.

The argument seems to be that, for the average American driver, diesel can offer equivalent fuel economy to hybrids at a much lower cost than hybrids. Fully-electric vehicles aren't yet applicable to the driving habits of most people.

"Switching from a gasoline engine to an advanced diesel engine will improve fuel economy up to 30 percent and reduce GHG emissions as much as 25 percent, at an additional cost of $1,500 - $2,000 per vehicle."

And the paper acknowledges the visceral appeal of oil burners, "Diesel engines feature strong low-end torque and great acceleration making them fun to drive. The low-end torque also makes diesel engines the ideal powertrain for pick-up trucks which account for a large segment of the American market. The fuel savings of a switch from gasoline to diesel can also be significant for pickup trucks and full size SUVs where fuel efficiency is particularly low."


"Consumer preference for diesel versus hybrids can be attributed to the ‘fun-to-drive' nature and lower purchase price of diesels."

Ray Mineta for President?

Here's a link to the white paper in PDF form.

[Thanks for the tip, Dominican]