OK, maybe we don't get screwed. But we do have it tough. After having owned a Volkswagen TDI diesel for three years, and enjoying the torquey motor with regular mileage in the 45 to 50 mpg range - I really like my diesel cars...
Currently we drive a Jeep Liberty CRD, which is powered by a 2.8L common rail diesel engine. It is a great vehicle. Extremely capable in many areas, it's 30mpg on the highway is not too shabby for a vehicle of it's type. And it's 300 pounds of torque really make towing fun. In fact, the CRD simply feels like it is not happy unless it is climbing or towing.
Now, where am I going with this? Well. What do we have currently for diesel options in the USA? Mostly big trucks - which not only are really big - are expensive since the diesel options only come in the heavy duty versions. Volkswagen offers diesel in several of their passenger cars. There is the Mercedes E 3 series with diesel power, although not as many people can afford a Mercedes. The Dodge Sprinter van, and the Jeep Liberty finish out the list. Grand total we have about 4 passenger car lines, one SUV, a Van, and 3 large trucks.
There are a few reportedly coming down the production line soon, for instance Jeep is planning a diesel version of the Grand Cherokee, and Audi has many many diesel models in the pipeline. Daimler Chrysler (who owns Jeep) has several models in the works as well, and their new Blutec engine was recently certified for the new emissions requirements in all 50 states (big news!).
But the rest of the world really gets more. Take our Liberty CRD for instance. America was given about 20,000 TOTAL to sell for it's two year run. In the rest of the world the CRD is the more common motor choice for the Liberty (called the Cherokee most other places). And that same engine is also extremely popular in the Dodge Caravan / Plymouth Voyager type minivans. Not even offered here in the states.
But VW makes many diesel engines and lines of cars that are not availble in the states, like the Lupo or Polo (can you say 80mpg!!! ) and other options, like convertable beetles with the TDI motor. (I would kill for a TDI convertable beetle. Or at least take out a loan for one... )
Toyota worldwide has around 10 different diesel powertrains, but not in the USA. They even sell a diesel full size SUV that gets almost 30mpg. Heck, it seems like most manufacturers make neat diesel cars they don't sell in the USA.
Which brings us to the latest gem that we can't get here in the land of Apple Pie and FOX News...
Check out the Ford Focus CC-3 TDCi. Man, a hard top sporty convertible that gets 47mpg. Who the hell would want that?
Here is another one... The Peugeot diesel hybrid 307 CC HDi. Man, a diesel hybrid convertible that gets a little over 60mpg. I doubt anyone in the USA would want one of those! (Except, like - me, and a maybe couple others...)