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Ask the EcoGeek: Green Driving at Six Feet Tall

I'm considering purchasing a 2007 Mercedes Bluetec e320 Diesel. My question is "Is this car really green?"

My 04 Prius has 60k miles and is worse for wear and I'm too tall to viagra en gel comfortably drive it any longer. I can't help but think the Bluetec is a step in reverse for me personally and that I really want to move forward with a Plug-in Hybrid or full EV, but no options exist. I'm tired of driving a constrictive tiny car built for the 95% of Japanese people, I'm not willing to accept a hybrid SUV, the notion is ridiculous. I want 50mpg+! and I want to stop BURNING fuel. What's my next car?

Hey Lex,

Is the Mercedes Bluetec e320 Diesel green? Well, one thing's for doesn't feel as green as a Prius. Unfortunately, it's hard to get both the green feeling and the headroom. Green cars aren't small because they're built for Japanese people, they're small because to be efficient, cars need to be light, and present a low profile to the 70 mph winds that constantly buffet highway cars.

Of course, that's one reason why diesels are an intriguing option. They may not seem green, but they do provide more power while producing less CO2. The e320 Diesel is a great car, and while you might not look green, you will look good while getting almost 40 mpg. The carbon savings are there, but, you're absolutely right, it's a step backwards from a Prius.

The real question is, what are the options for folks who want efficiency as well as comfort. Unfortunately, for a real choice, you're going to purchase cheap tramadol have to go small or wait. I seriously would suggest halving your budget and going to your Honda and Toyota dealerships to check out the Fit, the Yaris, the Civic, the Altima and even the Corolla. These cars aren't really built for the same markets as a $50,000 BluTec Benz, but while your friends might think you're crazy, they won't when you tell them how much you spend on gas.

If the second option, waiting, sounds more pleasant, then you might very well have some nice options coming down the pipe. The 2008 Prius will have a different body, so you might find it more comfortable than the '04. Additionally, the 2009 Prius might very well offer a plug-in version that will allow you realize your dream of not burning fuel anymore. At least until you hit 40 mph. Also, I should mention that the cialis without prescr1ption new body is absolutely beautiful.

Into the 2010s I promise you'll start seeing vehicles that will not only burn less (or no) fuel, they will also have folks drooling at the sweetness of your style. Plug-in and hybrid options will start popping onto the market in all shapes and pfizer viagra 50 mg online sizes and full EV cars might not be too far away.

I'm afraid those are your options. The ultra-efficient BluTec diesel engines allow for big beautiful cars to get pretty decent gas mileage. I understand wanting to lay your cash down there, if you've got it. But if you really want to look, feel and be green...go small...or wait.

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Not quite that simple...
written by love2scoot, July 20, 2007
This answer is more complex than “better or worse”. The new Bluetec diesels have a great potential for being a very “Green” option if you bring biodiesel into the mix. Here’s the info:

Point 1: Fuel Source

Regular Gas:
Any car that runs on regular gas emits CO2 by burning fuel that originates from a non-renewable resource, oil. The CO2 that leaves the tailpipe is a bi-product of the fuel burn and is new CO2 that would not have otherwise been added to the atmosphere.

The addition of ethanol to gasoline reduces the *NET* CO2 emissions of the vehicle because the origin of the CO2 in ethanol is from the cheap cialis on line atmosphere. The plants used to make the ethanol remove the CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, so when ethanol is burned the CO2 leaving the tailpipe is, at least partially, recycled (so to speak). The downsides here are that current estimates put ethanol production at a 1.3 to 1 ratio of energy from burning the fuel to energy it takes to produce the fuel itself (that’s actually less efficient than gas production). In addition, ethanol typically reduces fuel economy as it is less energy dense than the gas it is combined with. Also, in some cases, a mixture exceeding 20% ethanol can potentially harm older vehicles (this centers around premature wear of non-metallic fuel lines). In this case ethanol will typically only be seen to blends of up to 20% (for the time being).

Diesel fuel originates from the same crude source as does gas, but has about 20% more energy density per volume. This means that a gallon of diesel can potentially get 20% better gas mileage than a gallon of gasoline. Just like gasoline, all CO2 emissions from the tailpipe are greenhouse gases that would not have otherwise been added to the atmosphere.

Biodiesel originates as either plant or animal biproducts (think oils and fats) that are put through a process called transesterification. This process breaks these bi-prodcuts into two main components: Biodiesel fuel (alkyl esters) and glycerin (a soap base). Both of these products are fully biodegradable. Biodiesel is available in several different concentrations from 2% (B2) to 100% (B100). Current estimates give a conservative 60% reduction in *NET* CO2 output when using Biodiesel. Biodiesel is about 10% less energy dense than regular diesel, but is still more energy dense than gasoline. Also, *ALL* diesel cars from the oldest clackety-clackers to the brand new Bluetec diesels can use B100 without problems. So the benefits here are both significant and compounding: better gas mileage per gallon, significantly reduced *NET* CO2 emissions, and the ability to use 100% biodiesel fuel even in the newest cars.

Point 2: Bluetec advantages

Diesel vehicles in the states have suffered a bad reputation mainly due to 1) the significant air pollution caused by inefficient diesel engines and 2) high sulfur fuels. The latter has now been changed (all on road Diesel fuel in the US is of a higher standard then even European diesel fuel). The former was slowly improved over the years with the VW TDI engine bringing the best possible implementation of mechanical injection in the industry. However, even the most efficient TDI diesel from 2005 could not meet emissions requirements in all 50 states for 2006. Most of the new diesels, shipping later this year for the 2008 model year, come from the Bluetec group composed of Mercedes, VW, and (I think) Audi. (although Honda, Volvo, and BMW are expected to bring similar products to market).

Bluetec diesels use two methods to reduce emissions, one with a selective catalytic converter and wow)) levitra online us the other with a urea based additive. In either case, these cars will meet emissions standards qualifying for Tier 2 bin 5 emissions- the average emissions output of vehicles on the road (can also be called LEVII- Low Emissions Vehicle Tier II).

Point 3: The Sum Up (My Opinion)
The new Bluetec diesel vehicles combined with the use of viagra for sale in uk Biodiesel allow for the lowest greenhouse gas emissions vehicles on the road (or will be soon). This combination goes beyond simple tailpipe output and looks addresses the *NET* carbon footprint of the vehicle over its lifetime. IMHO- this combination is the best possible scenario for the time being.
What about a diesel passat
written by kevin, July 20, 2007
My friend has a diesel passat 2005 I think and she gets 50 mpg
written by der, July 20, 2007
6 INCHES tall?
written by der, July 20, 2007
The Prius and the Benz have the buy real viagra online without prescription same front headroom - 39.1 inches. And they have the same front headroom - 41.9 inches. They're the same exact size for a tall driver.

Now for a FAT driver, that's a different matter. The Prius has 51.0 inches of front hiproom, whereas the Benz has 57.2 inches.
written by stevejust, July 20, 2007
The BluTec diesel filled up with biodiesel made from recycled vegetable oil is a pretty attractive alternative to the Prius. The advanced emissions controls and the renewable biofuel route isn't as convenient as a Prius when it comes time to fill up (nor are diesels generally).

But what's bugging me about the query is me thinking about just how tall this guy is. I'm over six feet tall and I don't feel cramped at all in a Prius. It sounds to me like some of that "cramping" is being caused more by the fact that you'd prefer to roll a benz. Maybe a hybrid Lexus GS450h is what you need to test drive next to the E320? Personally, I might go biodiesel E320 over the GS450h, but that's just me.

P.S. Comparison of GS450h to BLUTEC E320 to 2004 Prius brought to you by me and

Lexus GS 450h: 22/25 (23 combined) mpg, 0-60 in 5.2 seconds, @$54k

Greenhouse gas emissions: 8 tons a year, scores 8 on EPA air pollution score

Mercedes E320: 23/32 (26 combined), 0-60 in 6.6 seconds, @52k

Greenhouse gas emissions: 8.1 tons a year, doesn’t have an EPA air pollution score

Toyota Prius: 48/45 (46 combined), 0-60 (you’re joking?), you already own it

Greenhouse gas emissions: 4 tons a year, scores 8 on EPA air pollution score
written by vee, July 20, 2007
The BluTec diesel filled up with biodiesel made from recycled vegetable oil is a pretty attractive alternative to the Prius

This will never occur in practice.

0-60 (you’re joking?)

9.8 seconds is a joke? I like the Prius for urban conditions and speeds.
written by vee, July 20, 2007
My friend has a diesel passat 2005 I think and she gets 50 mpg

Amazing how every single diesel advocate on message boards claims somehow they get miraculous fuel economy, far above real-world averages collected in databases of 100s of users.

What's the probability of that?
written by stevejust, July 20, 2007
Vee-- based on my values, the Prius wins hands down. I have a Civic Hybrid, but I bought it after they closed the Prius wait list in 2004. If your values lie in faster 0-60 times -- as I think the original questioner's might -- the Prius might feel "cramped."

I live in LA where there's a biodiesel coop. I'm going to join as soon as some company decides to make a hybrid diesel car warrantied for B100. (Ford Refl3x? Diesel hybrid smart?)

And I agree with you that people with diesel cars in general seem to think they get better gas mileage than they do. For instance the original reply by ecogeek seemed to suggest the E320 might get 40 mpg, which might be true of a Jetta, but is not true of the E320 which averages 26 mpg, as pointed out above.
written by mark, July 20, 2007
I drive a c3 diesel which gets 60 mpg and has good headroom.
honda insight!
written by kari, July 20, 2007
I drive a honda insight and I'm 5'11" and very very comfortable in it. my brother is 6'8" and fits comfortably in it too. and my dad is 6'10" and fits in the car comfortably as a passenger, but his feet are too big to work the pedals for long trips.

and I get over 60mpg! as honda has stopped manufacture of the insight, though, one would have to probably get a used car.
written by David, July 20, 2007
I've heard the Yaris is surprisingly effective for tall people. In fact, all the 2007 models seem to have the same styling, so I would presume similar expanded headspace. I'm too short to be a judge, but I know my friend who's 6'4' fit in my Yaris (not well - he's big in all directions).
New Civic Hybrid
written by Kabuki, July 20, 2007
The current model Civic hybrid is substantially more fuel efficient than the first generation units, in addition to actually having a comfortable interior. You owe it to yourself to at least go and sit in one before you make your final decision.
re: New Civic Hybrid
written by stevejust, July 21, 2007
Dear Kabuki,

not to burst your bubble, but:

Honda Civic Hybrid I 2WD Manual
Median mpg (US) Mean mpg (US) Middle 50% mpg (US)
48.0 47.9 45.2–51.0

Honda Civic Hybrid II 2WD CVT
Median mpg (US) Mean mpg (US) Middle 50% mpg (US)
46.1 45.8 42.5–50.0



Those of us in the states can't buy Citroens... or small diesel cars. The smallest diesel car we can get here is a Gulf TDI. They don't even import diesel Minis.

written by Antonio, July 23, 2007
Yeah, who in the world is 6 INCHES tall?
A different shade of green...
written by holtek, July 23, 2007
I'm disappointed that nobody mentioned the option of a NGV (natural gas vehicle). I have two: a Honda Civic GX and a Ford Crown Imperial. If you can't fit into a Crown Vic, you have bigger problems than worrying about your environmental footprint ;)

Bottom line, I refuel my cars from the comfort of my own garage for the equivalent of about $1/gallon and the exhaust is typically cleaner than the intake air.
No bubble to burst
written by Kabuki, July 23, 2007
Dear Stevejust...

Um, yeah. If you actually look at the mileage tallies of we use it viagra 30 mg the civics in question, on the website you indicate, you'll see that the database is fatally flawed by people who don't know how to drive their hybrid vehicles. Seriously, what idiot can only manage to get 29MPG in a hybrid Civic? You've not only given me more data on how inept most people are (thanks for that, because I wasn't BRIMMING with it before), but also included yourself in the process by misquoting your own reference. Thanks for pulling this whole thread off topic with your unproductive and unhelpful trolling.
written by stevejust, July 24, 2007
unproductive trolling? Did you not click on the right data?

You'll see that for the Civic II, 570 cars in the sample average 46.1 mpg.
For the manual Transmission Civic I, 107 cars in the sample average 48 mpg.

It is true that there are people in the Civic II sample that have atrociously low mileage, but the cialis shop same can be said for the Civic I population, except that there are fewer in the sample to dilute the effects. The whole point of the data is that it's a pretty big sample size, it makes up for the anomalies... and it goes by tank, too. Those people getting 29 mpg or less aren't contributing multiple tank data.

My point was:
you indicated that the new civic was better than the old civic, and all I'm trying to point out to you is that the manual version of the original civic is on average, probably capable of better mpg than the Civic II.

The empirical data supports this assertion. As does generally, though the sample size there is small, and you can only compare one year of manual transmission hybrid civics at a time.

As far as pulling the thread off topic... the guy was comparing the Prius to an E320. You brought in the Honda. How am I the troll, for pointing out that the manual transmission Civic is actually a pretty darn good way of getting good gas mileage? On average, again using the green hybrid database, on par with the Prius?
can i convert my honda civic 02 to accep
written by wayne, December 30, 2007
is it possible to convert my honda civic 02 vetec engine to accept biofuel and what would the changes need to be. would we be able to use ordinary unleaded petrol aswell and drug viagra would we fill it into the same tank? would it be possible for myself an engineer to convert the levitra generic brand car myself?
Lexus rh400h to what?
written by milena hileman, April 07, 2011
We just moved to the seattle area.

We have 3 ages 5-8 children and they are getting larger and always want a friend along too. The adults are tall and wide too. I'm very concerned about safety particularly when aging relatives visit (we're also older for such young kids, almost 50). I've been very frustrated by what's available here versus europe, and how the best cars for emissions are not available used, the toyota line has huge waitlists....

We have to drive in snowy and icy conditions sometimes, and want something that can cross mountains - but I also have to drive for silly errands and kid taxi driver to their way too many activities.

I was looking at the mercedes R class blue tech diesel-- expensive and maintenance probably more - what alternatives are there?

The larger audi has the rear seat right next to the glass -- the way people drive around here makes me a little frightened about that.

Is there anything else?

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