I was reading the Autoblog Green article GM announces new light duty 4.5L V-8 diesel for North America which made me a little excited. This would be a fabulous option for people like myself who would like to have a diesel pickup but not a heavy duty work horse truck. This diesel is smaller than the current 4.8L V8 gas engine (like I had in my old trucks) and produces more horsepower and way more torque. There is a reference to a 25% reduction in fuel consumption over the existing gas engines. I can only assume that this is a comparison to the 5.3L V8 that is pretty much the defacto standard engine in a GM full-sized truck.
Now, I was confused by the first comment on the article because the poster simply missed the point. They should be impressed by a 25% reduction in fuel consumption for pickup trucks. According to the sales numbers on pickuptruck.com, GM has sold a combined 350,000 pickup trucks to the end of May 2007. That will be almost 850,000 trucks by the end of the year. If the majority of those trucks can see a reduction of 25% in their fuel consumption, just think of how much less fuel will be used.
The poster may not see the use of a pickup truck but I’ll bet that a lot of their service companies, contractors, emergency services and other commercial operations do. They all drive a lot more in a year than the average family of 4. 50+ mpg makes very little difference on the whole. Yeah, it helps your own pocket a bit more but unless you’re driving a lot more than the average, you may be no better off once you take into consideration the (current) extra cost of a diesel. I’ve done the math and it almost make sense for me. I commute over 110km (almost 70 miles) a day and if I weren’t carpooling with two other guys, I’d likely have a Volkswagen TDI already, even with the extra up front expense and higher ongoing maintenance costs.
Oh, and forget the H2 being mentioned in the original article, that’s the red herring to get you to bite.