Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Jon asks: Are you aware that the new midsize trucks in Asia are diesel powered? This has been the norm for a long time. Why can you buy new diesels in Asia but not in the USA?
My reply: I am very aware – and have written several articles on this very subject. The reason diesel-powered vehicles are all-but-extinct in the United States is because emissions regulations have made them all-but-impossible to sell in the United States.
This would be tolerable, of course, if the emissions of these diesels were significant – enough to cause actual harm to people or the environment. In fact, they merely fail to meet federal (and California) standards, which require practically zero emissions – regardless of the absence of any evidence of harm caused to anyone.
The VW “cheating” inquisition set the tone. The cars were portrayed as “dirty” even though the “cheating” at issue (on federal emissions certification tests) was so trivial – literally, fractions of a percent differences – that it went unnoticed until specialized equipment was used to suss it out. No harm was ever proved. But standards were affronted.
As to why the affronting was treated with such viciousness – VW’s TDI diesels were hounded off the market – the obvious answer is rage of the authority affronted. The subtler why has to do with the threat that diesels pose to the shove toward electric cars. Diesels are too inexpensive and efficient and practical; they make electric cars look silly. And so, they must go.
Even better, prevent them from getting here at all – by applying regulations so expensive and difficult to comply with as to make it not worth the effort to try.
And that’s why we don’t get the diesel-powered versions of the vehicles you mention. Or – lately – diesel powered anything at all. Just a handful of full-size trucks and even those probably won’t be available for much longer.
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