Writer: Ron Knight (Chemist)
I recently returned from a trip to France and Germany and I rented a car in both countries. I rented an Opel SUV in France and a BMW SUV in Germany and both of the cars had diesel engines (55% of European vehicles are diesel). I am always curious to know what kind of gas mileage a car gets so I recorded how may liters of fuel the cars used and how many kilometers that I drove. Changing the liters to gallons and the kilometers to miles I found that the Opel averaged 48 miles per gallon and the BMW averaged 52 miles per gallon. I drove almost 1600 miles.
According to www.fueleconomy.gov the average mileage for cars in America was 23.6 miles per gallon in 2013, which was up from an average of 22.4 miles per gallon in 2011.
Looking around on the Internet I found that a VW TDI Jetta gets around 45 MPG in America and 65 MPG in Europe. I wonder why? Some people claim that it is the way the fuel economy is calculated but who really knows? I do know the fuel mileage on the two cars that I rented because I did the calculations.
All fuels are more expensive in Europe than in America. Diesel fuel in America seems to be $0.50 to $0.60 more per gallon than gasoline. In Germany diesel was 1.25 euros per liter ($7.72 per gallon) and regular “petrol” (our gasoline) was 1.37 euros per liter ($9.27 per gallon). Putting this on a percentage basis, diesel in America is 20 to 22% higher than gasoline while in Europe diesel is 17% less expensive that European petrol. Wonder why? Do you suppose that it is because freight carriers can pass on their fuel costs in the form of fuel surcharges and ultimately don’t pay for increased fuel costs! Why would they really care what they pay for diesel?