beating the terrorists one car at a time

Earlier this year, I found out that VW was making high mileage diesel powered cars. This week, when it came time to finally replace one of our old cars, I knew what  we should consider first: a new VW. While looking around at the models, we found the turbo diesel was available in the Jetta Wagon, and I'm happy to say we're now the proud owners of a 2003 model.

Some of our reasons behind getting it and the great things about it:

- It gets almost 50 miles per gallon on the highway, nearly doubling and tripling our mileage compared to our other cars. At current nearby pump prices, about $25 in fuel will get us 600-700 miles.

- All that fuel economy doesn't necessarily come at the price of performance. It's a small engine, but it's turbo charged which gives it about as much power as a typical small gas engine (actually much more torque). In a couple hours of driving it around, I was pretty happy with its pickup and pep.

- It can run on biodiesel (actually runs cleaner and easier on the engine), which doesn't contain any fossil fuels at all. That's right, it's fuel you can home brew, without having to extract it from wells deep in the earth (not that I'd make fuel at home, but it's nice to know I don't have to dig up compressed old dinosaurs in Iraq if I needed to top off the tank in a pinch).

- There is tons of room inside, it's nearly SUV big, and can seat five people plus lots of junk in the back.

- Every auto buying experience I've had involved the worst kind of back-stabbing slimy salesmen until now. With no haggling at all, we got the jetta at the factory invoice price (about a $1,000 cheaper than other dealer quotes I got), with VW's 3.5% financing from a guy that was as close to a real-life Gil as I've ever met. The whole process was painless.

Although the hybrid gas/electric cars can also approach 50 mpg efficency and run cleaner, the jetta offered more space and better performance in addition to its ridiculously high fuel economy.