Technology beat the clatter and smoke of diesel car engines. It's time for a U.S. comeback.
During the 1980s, A diesel-powered Volkswagen Rabbit was briefly part of my household fleet. It was a particularly frigid Detroit winter, and we had to plug in the Rabbit's engine block heater if we were parked for even an hour or it absolutely refused to start. Even on warm days, our Rabbit hesitated at the touch of the ignition key. Its lack of power necessitated long-term planning for the simplest highway passing maneuvers. The engine clattered, smoked, and smelled like a city bus. The car's sole saving grace was that it traveled miles and miles on a single tank of fuel.