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Clean Diesel Gets Great Mileage

You may want to consider a clean diesel-powered car instead of a hybrid -- like this Volkswagen Jetta TDI, for example.

AP Photo/Ric Francis

You may want to consider a clean diesel-powered car instead of a hybrid -- like this Volkswagen Jetta TDI, for example.

In recent years, European-style clean diesel engines in small cars have gained a bit of a foothold in the U.S. market, and not without good reason. Diesel's former reputation as smelly, dirty and sluggish is now a thing of the past. That's primarily due to new diesel-fuel technologies, like the Mercedes-Benz BlueTec system and federal limits on particulates.

And then it comes to fuel economy, diesel-powered cars are nearly as good as some of the hybrids in the city and they can even outperform some of the hybrids on the highway.

Keep in mind that these are EPA estimates, and hybrid owners have reported getting much lower, or much higher, fuel economy depending on their individual driving style:

  • Toyota Prius Hybrid: 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway
  • Honda Insight Hybrid: 40 mpg city/43 mpg highway
  • Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel: 30 mpg city/41 mpg highway
  • BMW 335d diesel: 23 mpg city/36 mpg highway
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid: 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid: 33 mpg city/34 mpg highway

[source: fueleconomy.gov]

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