Published on November 7th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown


Honda Civic Diesel Achieves 65 MPG

November 7th, 2012 by  

A new diesel Honda Civic has achieved the US equivalent of 65 MPG fuel efficiency, which is comparable to that of hybrid electric vehicles.

It goes on sale in January 2013, but only in Europe. It is equipped with the i-DTEC Earth Dreams diesel engine.

Honda Civic Diesel

It has a 1.6 litre, 118 HP engine. Despite being only 118 HP, it provides one of the key benefits of diesel engines, which is 221 ft-lbs of torque. It produces about the same amount of horsepower as most Civics, Corollas, and economy cars.

This is a front-wheel-drive vehicle that offers a manual six-speed transmission.

In the United Kingdom, it will cost £19,400, which is approximately $31,000 USD.

As I said in the beginning, diesel-powered vehicles can achieve efficiency comparable to that of gasoline-fueled hybrid electrics, but they have a higher initial cost. The Honda Insight Hybrid starts at $18,500 — although, it is not as efficient; it achieves 41 MPG in cities, and 44 MPG on highways.

You may wonder why it is not available in the US. Possible causes of this include:

  • Higher taxes on diesel than on gasoline in the US. Diesel is used to fuel tractor trailers, which are needed to transport most goods throughout the US.
  • Diesel cars have a reputation for sluggish performance.
  • Diesel cars are expensive to buy, although their fuel efficiency and reliability benefits compensate for that. Americans often purchase lower-priced vehicles.
  • Diesel engines have a history of polluting the air more than gasoline ones, although low-sulfur diesel technology has changed this.

Source: Gas 2.0

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Fred Rose

    Americans want gee wiz technology and will pay dearly for it, while diesel, which has been around for years in Europe, is less costly, so Americans think it’s not as good. Diesel engines not only get better fuel economy then hybrids, but diesel car engines are known to run well over 300,000 miles, and are less expensive to maintain and without the cost of replacing a battery pack that can cost $3,000 or more every 7 to 10 years. But what the auto manufactures of hybrids aren’t telling you is that as the battery pack ages your gas mileage decreases due to the slowly increasing inability of the battery pack to hold a charge as long as it did when it was new so the engine has to assume an increasingly greater role; and in weather temperature drops so does the gas mileage due to the battery pack being too cold to work efficiently.

  • Mike Jag

    Low mileage Honda Civic engines is the best option. Buy from

  • freedomev

    ———–Also a Insight or Prius are bigger high line cars with great resale value and the fuel costs 10% less. The new versions coming especially the plug in Prius will trouce a diesel.
    ———– And let’s remember only hybrids that can plug in are really hybirds. The ones we call that now are know as mildbirds by those who know.
    ———– The real economy will come with composite body/chassis citting the weight, battery pack by 50% and the gas motor by 66% getting more like 125mpg without decreasing size or other features.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The industry calls cars like the Prius hybrids.

      Hybrids which can have their batteries charged by plugging to the grid are called Plug-in Hybrids

      • freedomev

        Hybird originally meant 2 sources of energy. Non plug in ones only use gas. But I agree that is what the industry calls them.
        They call a Volt an electric car when it’s a hybrid instead.

  • Anne

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. Not once, but twice.

    First of all the UK (=EU) and US test cycles differ significantly. The Insight numbers you state for the US, according to the EPA test. The Insight is rated 58 MPG in Europe. You didn’t even read the article on Gas 2.0, because it warns for the difference in testing methodology: “Realisticly, the Civic diesel’s mpg rating would probably be between 50 and 60 mpg on the U.S. testing cycle.”

    Secondly, diesel is not gasoline. Diesel is a different substance, and comparing it on a litre for litre basis is simply wrong. Diesel is heavier, it contains 12% more energy per litre, emits 12% more CO2 per litre and costs significantly more oil to make (25 % according to the union of concerned scientists). So, 58 MPG gasoline is equivalent to 65 MPG diesel (+12%).

    If we do the comparison properly, the Insight and this new Civic diesel are equally efficient.

    Never mind the Prius, which is rated 62 MPG in Europe, which is 70 MPG diesel equivalent.

    And finally a third point: the current Prius and Insight are almost 4 years old, close to being replaced by new models, which both can be expected to be significantly more efficient. This Civic is equipped with the very latest diesel technology.

  • nearly retired

    In the days of depreciating dollars, the idea of buying expensive with low fuel cost is appealing. But diesel is still an unregulated form of energy, unlike natural gas or electricity. I will be living on fixed income, and I still need to drive. I guess I’ll just have to build my own. Starting with a small diesel engine, supercharged and modified to run on CNG. The electricity to compress the CNG will come from the panels. Sacrifice space for a bigger fuel tank. Carry enough battery to recover braking and downhill energy. Get rid of multi-thousand dollar transmissions with elect. drive. If it lives 25 years and I don’t crash it, it’s going to work. Too bad mass production won’t lower the cost, except that I’ll be modifying an existing assembly line vehicle with air bags and anti-lock brakes. Oil in the ground is better than money in the bank. It’s a fact of life, and one has to adapt. Still hoping the coal industry will enter the fray with DME.

  • Ronald Brak

    A diesel hybrid is going to be more efficient than a straight diesel. Tis the nature of the beast. And if there were some radical improvement in straight diesel engines then presumably that improvement could be used to make a diesel hybrid allowing them to maintain their advantage in efficiency.

    • Ron,
      I ran across the following information (I hope that it’s accurate) about a diesel-electric hybrid that VW has in the pipeline. cannot wait to see what come of it.

      • Ronald Brak

        It’s looks good. And there are petrol (gasoline) hybrids that are supposed to come out soon that also look good. Where I am diesel is kind of pricey, so I’d have to sit down with a calculator and work out if it saves money to go diesel.

  • jonesey jonesey

    Can it run on biodiesel? Running on biodiesel made from used cooking oil, a fuel I am able to buy here in Oregon, can reduce net CO2 emissions by more than 50%.

    If you’re looking for a similar vehicle that costs a lot less, gets 40 MPG overall (50+ MPG highway), runs on 100% biodiesel, and has more cargo room, try a 2000-2005 VW Golf TDI or Jetta Wagon TDI. It won’t have that new car smell (mmm, toxic VOC off-gassing), but the only way to beat the environmental performance is with something that plugs in or has fewer wheels.

  • The EPA test for fuel efficiency is more conservative than EU tests. On the EPA five cycle test I’d expect this vehicle to be rated at about 50 MPG or less. Furthermore, each gallon of diesel results in 14% more CO2 emissions as a gallon of gasoline. I hate to be negative but this car is less green than a Toyota Prius. The Toyota Prius is less green than EVs and plug in hybrids.

    • Robbie Dyer

      You’re making a lot of assumptions with no evidence, I believe most of them are actually false in most circumstances. EVs and PHEVs are only green if they are using green electricity.This won’t be in the case in most of the world as electricity is often generated using very dirty coal or oil generators. Then on top of this the production of the motors are batteries is by no means a green process and it would take many miles of 0 carbon driving to offset this. I’m also not convinced the EPA test would be that different given that real world figures for the 2.2L version of this car are around the 60MPG mark. I’m convinced electric cars will one day be able to match efficient petrol/diesel engines for green credentials but I think that we’re still a few years away from that.

      • Bob_Wallace

        A grid does not have to be 100% “green” for EVs to have a lower CO2 footprint than an ICEV.

        In many countries EVs are already greener than a high MPG ICEV.

      • Bob_Wallace

        “The EPA test for fuel efficiency is more conservative than EU tests”

        This is true. In EU mileage tests the car manufacturers are allowed to do a number of non-real world things in order to increase their MPG rating. Mirrors and windshield wipers can be removed, just one example.

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