Diesels and Hybrids Fated to Wed
Two leading technologies used in fuel-efficient vehicles seem destined to unite. Industry experts say joining hybrid motors with diesel engines would result in the greenest mainstream vehicles ever, and the initial tests are promising.
Hybrid vehicles, which use an electric motor powered by batteries to assist a gasoline engine, have proven popular with consumers because of the lower fuel costs and reduced emissions, according to Dan Kahn, road test editor at automotive website Edmunds.com. Vehicles powered by diesel fuel -- which contains up to 20 percent more energy than gasoline, according to the Diesel Technology Forum -- are another fuel-efficient option, Kahn said.
For example, the 2004 Toyota Prius is rated at 60 miles per gallon by the Environmental Protection Agency, while the Volkswagen Jetta diesel is rated at 38 mpg, compared to the 24 mpg of a Jetta with a gasoline engine.
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