With the price of gasoline hovering around the $4 per gallon mark, more people are thinking about affordable transportation which is more efficient on fuel. It's a basic rule of economics. There isn't more supply to bring the prices down, so consumers find a way of conserving and cutting costs, thereby reducing demand for gasoline. Automobile manufacturers are beginning to respond, among them: the Ford Motor Company.
Ford has produced the 2009 ECOnetic Fiesta. It's a subcompact which seats five and gets a whopping 65 miles per hour. So why aren't Americans flocking to their dealerships to buy this fuel sipper. Simple. They can't.
The ECOnetic is only offered in Europe. Why? Because this car doesn't burn gasoline. It's powered by diesel, a fuel choice generally not favored by Americans, even though technology breakthroughs have made diesel automobiles a cleaner, more powerful mode of transportation.
Diesel automobiles have actually become the cars of choice in Europe, where gasoline prices range from $6 to $12 per gallon. Volkswagon and Mercedes-Benz have been producing so-called clean-burning diesel cars for years. According to Business Week, only three percent of the cars on the road in the U.S. use diesel fuel, mainly because diesel costs 40 cents to a dollar a gallon more than gasoline due to taxes aimed at commercial truck fleets.
If Americans truly want automobiles which burn cleaner and get more miles-per-gallon, they will have to vote with their pocketbooks. The technology doesn't yet exist to have efficient electric or hydrogen-powered cars. The infrastructure doesn't exist to easily refuel natural gas burning cars. Diesel is widely available now. Hybrids are an option, but they still burn gasoline. If more Americans purchased diesel powered cars and lobbied their senators and congressmen to reduce the obscene taxes on diesel fuel, we too could have access to automobiles which are easy to refuel and get very high fuel economy.