By Colin M. Prenger ’11
The automotive industry has changed significantly in the past decade, finally gearing automobiles to fit the “green” movement in today’s world.
No, this is not another article demanding that you must reduce greenhouse gases by driving your gas guzzling vehicle less, nor that you should drive small clown cars.
In fact, this is to suggest an alternative to hybrids if the Toyota Prius is not your style.
Most hybrid models on the market today include: Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius, Chevy Tahoe, and Saturn Vue 2 Mode.
Each year the Green Car Journal Green Car of the Year program selects a car model that demonstrates environmental progress in the new model year.
One would typically guess that the Prius or the Ford Fusion would win–but this is incorrect. To no surprise, the Germans took this award in 2009 with their ’09 VW Jetta TDI, the first clean diesel car to receive this award.
How did the TDI win this noteworthy award?
Contrary to what popular belief might say about diesel engines, the Jetta TDI passed emission tests in all 50 states without adding anything special to the fuel in the car.
On the highway, the Jetta TDI boasts an impressive 42 miles per gallon. Depending on how you drive the car, one can squeeze roughly 34 miles per gallon in the city.
Performance and quality is what sets the TDI apart from other vehicles, except BMW’s diesel model.
The TDI gets great gas mileage, while still offering a swift kick of power with the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine that produces 140 horsepower.
BMW does offer a three series diesel, but the normal car buyer would not be willing to spend nearly $57k.
The Jetta TDI’s list price is quite comfortable for an alternative fuel vehicle, sitting at an affordable $21,990 compared to a Toyota Prius which can be as expensive as $28k.
Although this may be out of the price range for the average student, this is a good sign of future eco-friendly auto options.