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87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can’t buy one in the U.S.

Source: Independent.ie

PUTTING economy driving into practise was the aim of a group of drivers who took part in a Wexford to Dublin charity challenge. The Charity Eco-Drive Challenge was won by a driver who achieved a fuel economy figure of 87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Style.

Organised in December by Ger Boland and Enda Newport from Ford dealer Boland’s of Ferrybank, Wexford, the Charity Eco-Drive Challenge saw six drivers tasked with driving from Wexford to Dublin (Stillorgan Park Hotel) and back to Wexford using as little fuel as possible.

Each driver’s fuel consumption was analysed and from the six drivers, Michael Forde of Curracloe, Co Wexford, came out on top with the most economic result of 87 mpg for the round trip. Among the six participants, the range of fuel consumption figures achieved went from Michael’s 87 mpg to 64 mpg.

To ensure fair play, each of the six participants drove the same route in identical Focus 1.6 TDCi models of the same age and similar mileage. The winning driver was given the option of nominating a charity to receive a donation of €1,000. Michael nominated the Wexford Women’s Refuge to receive an early Christmas present.

Speaking about his strategy for the challenge, Michael Forde said: “I wasn’t too concerned about maintaining a steady speed, the secret to eco-driving is engine revs.

“So long as I could keep the engine revs in the range of approximately 1500 to 1800, I knew that I would end up with a very respectable fuel consumption figure.”

Michael also highlighted tyre pressure as being another important element: “Most motorists don’t realise it but incorrect pressure settings mean more fuel used.”

The Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Style with alloy wheels, air conditioning, fog lights and Bluetooth, is available for around €21,750.

Once again a modern factory-built diesel-powered automobile has achieved astonishing fuel efficiency numbers in a driving competition. This isn’t futuristic technology that is “just around the corner” or “not yet cost effective”, these are current versions of diesel-powered cars that roll off of assembly lines in other parts of the world every day – and are affordable to ordinary people.

So, why are we in the US not yet able to buy these ultra-efficient little diesel-powered cars (Ford Focus ECOnic, Mini-D) that are “old news” in other parts of the world (as of 2007 about 50% of new cars sold in Europe have diesel engines) and then choose to run them on modern bio-diesel fuels that are slowly coming to market?

Embracing modern diesel engine technology also avoids the chicken-and-egg problem that other alternative fuels suffer from… US-based drivers can fuel their zippy and efficient little diesel-powered cars and light trucks, easily getting better than 60 MPG every day on petroleum-based diesel, then get even “greener” when the bio-varieties gain investment and availability (thanks to the greater number of vehicles on the road that can consume their products).

Or you can brew your own bio-diesel – or buy from a local bio-diesel producer – more on that later…

AS an aside, Rudolph Diesel, the man who invented the engine design that still bears his name “was also a well-respected thermal engineer and a social theorist. Diesel’s inventions have three points in common: they relate to heat transfer by natural physical processes or laws; they involve markedly creative mechanical design; and they were initially motivated by the inventor’s concept of sociological needs. Rudolf Diesel originally conceived the diesel engine to enable independent craftsmen and artisans to compete with industry.”

Diesel was a brilliant inventor and understood exactly how competitive his engine would become, but did he realize that the industries his engine would “threaten” a hundred years later would be the oil industry and the tax man?


25 Responses to “87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can’t buy one in the U.S.”

  1. 87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can't buy one in … | ALL DIESEL TECH on January 3rd, 2010 11:54 PM

    […] post: 87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can't buy one in … Posted in Diesel, Diesel engines | Tags: alternative, chicken, damaged-through, Diesel, Diesel […]

  2. 87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can’t buy one in the U.S. on January 4th, 2010 1:47 PM

    […] You find the original post here blog.fuelclinic.com/ … | Michael […]

  3. Michael Block (Orlando Auto Examiner) on January 5th, 2010 2:01 AM

    I simply fail to understand the US aversion toward diesel automobiles.

    NONE of diesel’s old problems exist any longer. They’re now quieter than gas engines with pliezo direct-injection, squeaky-clean and soot free thanks to particulate filters and ULSD, and much easier to start in the morning with advanced glow plugs.

    Plus, diesels last longer, will run on just about ANY fuel, have torque curves that gas engines can only dream of (and Americans like torque)…

    … and now they’re insurmountable in racing, with the Audi R10 and Peugeot 908 HDi Le Mans prototypes.

    Yet I just read that some automakers have all but abandoned their plans to import diesels into the US, leaving just VW and Mercedes-Benz, like always.

    I just don’t get it.

  4. Michael on January 22nd, 2010 12:59 PM

    Michael, I’m perplexed as well. Previously I talked about my experiences driving these little diesel-powered cars in Estonia years ago, and how much fun it was to drive the tourqey little beasts while getting in excess of 65 MPG on average. A small turbo makes very little noise, and the clean diesels no longer belch black soot or clackity-clack at idle. Opening the doors to bio-diesel fuels in efficient and sturdy modern mid-sized diesel vehicles is a no-brainer in my book..

  5. Ultra-Efficient Gas Engine Passes Test — Diesel-like Performance of 64 MPG « Fuelishness! Fuel Economy Blog on March 28th, 2010 10:51 AM

    […] compression ignite the fuel – much like a diesel engine. (Fun fact: The current crop of small diesel engines available in Europe are regularly scoring 60+ MPG in every-day driving.) Once the fuel is injected into the piston, the […]

  6. Eamonn O'Regan on April 14th, 2010 10:59 AM

    A few things about diesel cars in the US-there is a perception there that they are noisy, smelly and slow. Nothing could be further than the truth. I live in Ireland but rent cars during visits to the USA. I cannot rent a diesel there. I have noticed that the OPERATING cost of cars there is as high as it is in Europe as gas consumption is invariably very high. A large saloon (sedan) in Europe can top 50mpg. It follows that a large diesel US -spec model or USA-built diesel could get 40+ mpg from the smaller US gallon . There is now no good reason why US drivers should spurn diesel cars.they are technologically advanced. The oil companies wouldn’t like it, of course, but US motorists would as their cars’ running costs would be significantly reduced. To me, the idea of a car not being able to do 50mpg is preposterous.

  7. David on April 20th, 2010 1:24 AM

    They will never get a small diesel car in the states,because it makes sense and a vast amount of people want it.

  8. Alfred Bugg on June 11th, 2010 9:13 AM


    A BUGG

  9. simon on June 23rd, 2010 1:56 AM

    Diesel emission standards are holding back the USA release. the emission standards are created by oil company lobbyist. The oil industry is holding back it’s release. US public is very keen on mpg and fuel consumption. The days of the single soccer mom driving around a large and empty suv are over.

    We truly want more fuel efficiency and green technology. I foresee hydrogen replacing fuel shortly

    *and here’s why: Wind technology is green and irregular. When the wind blows, no body knows. Wind plants will produce energy spikes when we don’t need them. Those plants will offset the grid by producing hydrogen with all the excess. We’re also going to start reusing our nuclear waste. That will produce excess hydrogen. Diesel is nice, I wish it all the luck but it’s still a petroleum product.

  10. Dawson Thurber on July 4th, 2010 12:00 PM

    Has anyone looked into importing a diesel engine from abroad and swapping it into their American Focus? Seems doable.

  11. James on August 3rd, 2010 10:46 AM

    Why cant you just buy a Volkswagon TDI? They are sold in the states. I was looking at a Jetta the other day.

  12. Bob on August 10th, 2010 1:24 AM

    So what’s with all these “miles” per “gallon”? Ireland’s been metric for some time now – how many L/100 km was that then?

  13. Hybrids - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com on December 30th, 2010 3:06 PM

    […] Japanese – Gas Mileage Comparison | Daily Fuel Economy Tip More interesting articles … 87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can’t buy one in the U.S. Fuelishness!… 2009's Most Fuel-Efficient Vehicles – Forbes.com Japanese and European automakers to start clean […]

  14. GSNP on January 24th, 2011 2:58 PM

    WHY should Americans believe congressmen?

    they show us they don’t care about citizens’ economic problems – while they collect from Lobbyists.

    citizens: family food bills, heat bills, school bills, health bills, car bills, electric bills, JOBS they send to other countries, UNION bills, pay taxes on unemployment bills.

    people should REFUSE to buy cars with 20-25mpg performance.

    Illegals get many freebies, ER rooms, auto citizenship & bring their families to do so also, and college discounts – while American parents pay full price for all. (couldn’t be done in MX).

    Europeans get 80mpg cars see link below – it’s a FORD.

    Mexicans will now get 80mpg cars (7K in 2011 by SEAT inc.) AND manufacture them.

    Mexicans now manufacture GM after GM IPO went to UAW Bosses for big time profits & “O” never paid taxpayer back for buying out GM – After “O” said his “FIRST priority is JOBS in America.”

    (*keep the TV media viewers STUPID* – American TV Media is c*** filled with “omission of truths” LIES. AND “O” makes partnership with UNIONS – sure why shd he care; he’s making millions in his presidency PERKS.

    FREEDOM IN THE PRESS IS DEAD. When was the last time you saw/heard the whole truth from TV Media? ?Transparency & no more Earmarks – “O” first bill had over 1000 Earmarks – but you “had to sign it to find out what was in it”.

    I think our Country has run amuck. What will we do about it? I have some solutions, but too many to put in this email.

    Mexicans manufacture FORD

    Mexicans manufacture VW

    Americans get the shaft!

    87 mpg while driving a Ford Focus – But you still can’t buy one in the U.S.

    p.s. Pfc Manning stripped of clothes and his eyeglasses taken from him. So now he’s Solitary Confinement AND blind – while USG wants him to say Julian Assange calibrated with him – isn’t that coercion?


  15. Peter Boesel on March 13th, 2011 3:30 PM

    Wejust got back from a week in Paris and rented a Ford C-Max. It was so quiet I had to check to be sure it was a diesel befor refueling, and it was actually a really nice car! Nice interior, ultra quiet on the freewawy, stable, and plenty peppy! Would be a great car over here in the states

  16. vaellen on April 26th, 2011 2:16 AM

    its only about the money. As far as the EPA is concerned, they are a farse. EPA sets diesel emission standards and not one state enforces it. I own a jetta diesel getting 50 mpg. Like I said, the oil lobby wants the US to consume MORE and the EPA make sure of it.

  17. vaellen on April 26th, 2011 2:34 AM

    one can only imagine big oils response to a 50% reduction in oil consumption in the US with diesel, wonder why the leaf sells for 33,000? cha ching

    a real joke here, we are sooooo stupid

  18. vaellen on April 26th, 2011 5:46 AM

    of course the other problem is that the diesel engine is good for 400k miles, so the auto industry doesnt want that either, because it doesnt create JOBS, O bama might just be in that equation as well.,

  19. vaellen on April 26th, 2011 5:52 AM

    VW makes makes the 3 Liter, which goes 100km on 3 litres of diesel, or 84 mpg. it is a 1.2 liter 3 cylinder turbo of course. the germans also make an 800 cc diesel 3 cyl turbo motorcycle getting a whopping 150 mpg…and the list goes on. until american buycott autodealers, we wont get a thing changed…

  20. Joseph R Coppock on July 18th, 2011 10:53 AM

    What will we have to do to get this car brought to the states?It is a shame we can not buy it here!

  21. Gary on July 29th, 2011 8:53 AM

    I just returned from England and rented a new Focus Diesel. It had all the bells and whistles. On the highway I saw the economy go to 73 MPG. Someone in this country does not want this car to compete with the Renewable electric cars. Talk about an immediate way to lower the oil consumption in this country this auto was fun to drive and was a very comfortable car. Why can’t Ford produce these auto’s in this country????

  22. paul on September 8th, 2011 4:34 PM

    I too just rented a 2011 Focus euro diesel for a week in Scotland and drove it down to Heathrow. It was, hands down the best all around car I’ve ever driven. I drove up to 90 mph on the motorways and still had fuel costs at or below those I would have had in the US with my Camry (and that’s at 1.39 Pounds Sterling per liter for fuel). The car had a five speed with navigation and high end sound, power windows in front, manual windows in the rear. It cornered as if it were on rails and had all the acceleration and passing power I could have wanted. I told the rental company that I’d buy it from them and bring it home if I could. If Ford chose to import this car, I can just about guarantee it would blow the Prius away. It would allow us to buy a high quality, highly fuel efficient car that’s actually fun to drive and that has a domestic name plate. I’d sign up for one in a minute; and I’ll bet a lot people, even those with a prejudice against diesel, would too once they test drove it.

  23. ng lunyun on September 13th, 2011 6:33 AM

    we live in manila, philippines and also tucson, arizona. we have 2 focus diesels (his&hers) in manila. fun to drive, economical. we would buy one in tucson when available. so dumb we can’t get one in the u.s.

  24. Sean on May 8th, 2012 12:27 AM

    FYI a gallon in the US is less than a gallon in Ireland.

  25. Andrew on June 3rd, 2012 10:49 AM

    There is also the tax issue. Most of the money used for road repairs comes from gasoline taxes. Better fuel economy means less taxes collected. Then you have the oil industry. The last thing they want is 70mpg cars. Not only does the oil industry have a ton of money to buy policy but it employs a lot of people. Its about money. Its always about money. Congress collects from the oil companies and we pay the price. It has nothing to with diesel being dirty. Its the way the law is written. If you use one tank of diesel to every two plus tanks of gasoline which is dirtier? Nothing changes until the sheep get there heads out of the grass.

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