Ford's Diesel Fiesta: Steering Clear of the U.S.
Readers fired off more than 1,500 comments in response to our story about Ford Motor's (F) decision to sell its new diesel-run Fiesta only overseas ("65 MPG—but the U.S. Can't Have It," What's Next, Sept. 15). Many readers, including fans of low-sulfur diesel, wondered why Ford would keep such a headline-grabbing, Prius-beating car away from U.S. buyers. Others bashed diesel cars—even those that use filters to make their exhaust as clean or cleaner than gas-fed cars. And a few said they understood Ford's reluctance to export the car from Britain, where it's made, pointing to inadequate diesel supplies in the U.S. and taxes that keep diesel more expensive than gas at the pump. —David Kiley
GM (GM) gave diesel cars a bad name with the junk they tried to pawn off on us. Congress is also to blame for the excise tax on diesel. I have a 1981 VW (VLKAY) [diesel] Rabbit with 360,000 miles on it, and I still get 50 to 55 mpg. I also have a 1985 Ford Escort diesel station wagon that gets 48 mpg. If the government would get out of the way and let free enterprise prevail...
Screen name: Robert
I lived in Europe for 40 years. Whatever they say, diesel stinks. The particle filters work, but only when the car is new.
Screen name: fmarc
Come on, Ford, be bold. Retool a closed plant to build the Fiesta Diesel. Americans would dig it if it were "Made in the USA"!
Screen name: Tim
The situation is a little more complicated than some make it out to be.
It's not as simple as dropping a diesel engine into an existing vehicle. The factors include emissions standards in all 50 states that are far more stringent than Europe's, the cost of building plants to make diesel engines, uncertain demand, and the future price of diesel with respect to gasoline—given the likelihood that the price would rise if demand did.
All this means that the payback to the customer wouldn't be realized for years. While it's too early to discuss what powertrains will be in the Fiesta when it debuts in the U.S. in 2010, we're confident the car will be a fuel-economy leader.
Global Digital Communications
Alaskan Drilling: The Size of the Toll
In talking about extracting oil in Alaska, Sarah Palin asserts that 2,000 acres in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's 20 million-acre plain is "like a postage stamp on a football field" ("Sarah Palin on the Energy Challenge Facing America," Facetime, Sept. 15).
To be a realistic comparison, that stamp would need to be 648 square inches. While most people wouldn't notice a stamp-size piece missing from a football field, they would notice a missing doormat-size piece.