Diesel Needs A New Name - 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Long-Term Road Test
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Long-Term Road Test

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Diesel Needs A New Name

February 14, 2012

2005_JettaTDI_diesel_pump_2.jpg

Ever wonder why diesel hasn't earned broad acceptance? Why cars like our 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI still represent a tiny share of the market?

Even though it's still not the case, diesel cars have the lingering reputation of being noisy and stinky. But it is true that the fuel smells greazy and comes with an unshakable urge to wash your hands Right Now if you get any on you.

Also it's named after poo.

It seems so unnecessary to add the sad little "#2" onto signs and pumps. "Diesel" by itself seems to suffice. And has anyone ever seen Diesel #1? Is that one pre-mixed with the urea solution necessary for clean emissions?

I jest, of course. There is such a thing as Diesel #1, even though most of us have never seen or sniffed it. It's sometimes called Premium Diesel because it is more expensive to make and is generally found only in very cold areas because of it's lower viscosity. But it's not exactly the premium choice (if you have a choice) because it has less lubricity than #2 and contains fewer BTUs per unit volume.

At best it will allow your engine to run at all in the Great White North, albiet at reduced MPG; at worst it could ruin your engine if it's too un-cold outside.

Here's an idea: let's call Diesel #2 by the name Diesel instead. Or maybe Regular Diesel. Diesel #1 can then be Thin Diesel or Cold Diesel.

Let's face it: we all have a third grader buried deep within our psyche (some deeper than others), so why give the brain any subliminal ammunition it could use to drag diesel fuel and diesel engines through, as it were, the mud?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 17,150 miles


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