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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
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Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

Rising Fuel Prices:
Can Hybrids and Diesels Help You? (continued)

SUVs and Trucks

Mercedes SMART vehicle

Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI

For more info see:
Ford Motor Company
Honda USA
Toyota USA
But then there's the whole environmental responsibility aspect to consider. Sure, it might cost a little more to own a hybrid, but if more people bought and operated hybrids, fuel demands would drop, emissions would lower (in theory), and we might just be able to eek out a few more years of fuel reserves.

And as basic economics theory shows us, more demand for hybrids would result in higher production and lower cost, so cost of ownership could very well shift in favor of the hybrid. Of course, this all remains to be seen, but we have a feeling hybrids are here to stay.

While talking with a salesperson from a local dealership who wished to remain anonymous, we discovered that rising fuel prices are putting a dent in large vehicle sales. "I've had customers requesting fuel economy information for vehicles they're considering to purchase, and that's something I've never encountered before," said the salesperson. "It's definitely put a hurt on our truck and SUV sales."

Diesel: A viable alternative?

Mercedes-Benz has long built reliable, fuel efficient, diesel powered vehicles, but most Americans can't ignore the images of sooty black plumes of smoke coming from large tail pipes, when the word "diesel" is muttered. But don't dismiss diesel - it's actually a very viable alternative.

Mercedes-Benz has recently shown us its E320 diesel sedan, and we have to admit, we love the thing. It's 100% Mercedes-Benz, and it's bursting at the seems with quality. It's also powerful, quiet, and nary a waft of black smoke doth it emit from its tailpipe. How's that possible? It basically boils down to fuel quality. In Europe, diesel fuel is high quality stuff. In America, we get "garbage," with high sulfur content. The sulfur is largely responsible for the smoke, the smell and the health concerns (some studies suggest that diesel exhaust can cause cancer, amongst other health issues).

Lawmakers are hard at work trying to set standards for American diesel fuel to those of our foreign counterparts. But will that be enough to coax Americans into considering a diesel powered vehicle for their next purchase? Only time will tell. At the moment, hybrid technology is all the rage, and we expect to see more and more hybrid technology in the next few years.

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