MTV Brought Music Videos to the Masses. Can the Diesel Chevy Cruze Do the Same for B20?

Posted on August 29th, 2013

By Jenna Higgins Rose, alt fuel advocate, future soccer mom and proud Cruze owner

I still remember the day my parents first installed cable television in my childhood home in Colorado. It was in the early 1980s when the man came to our door with the faux-wood cable box. This installation happened to correspond with the early years of MTV‘s existence, and as a pre-teen this literally rocked my world.

From that box, I would come face-to-face with the “real-life” personas lining the walls of my bedroom: Duran Duran, David Bowie, Madonna and Michael Jackson. The same box would later expand my horizons beyond Top 40, to bands like the Smiths, Love and Rockets and New Order.

Of course I couldn’t know at the time that Channel 31 on my cable box would also lead to shattering changes in the music industry, its relationship with consumers, and how music would forever be delivered. Remember that iconic clip of the astronaut planting his MTV flag on the moon? How apropos.

A Game Changer on Four Wheels

I’m reminded of that time now as I actively consider new technology and products in a cultural and historical context. As a diehard biodiesel/alternative energy fan, the object of my more recent desire (post-Simon Le Bon) arrived with the introduction of the 2014 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel four-cylinder Chevy Cruze, approved for a 20 percent blend of biodiesel (B20).

Like my much-loved MTV of more than a few years ago, I see the diesel Cruze as a potential game changer. It bridges the gap between biodiesel and the average consumer/motorist, delivering for the first time a sedan that is B20 approved.

Although more than 75 percent of major U.S. auto and equipment manufacturers approve of B20 in some or all of their diesel models, the Cruze is an exciting development for biodiesel. It means the ordinary consumer, not just a fleet manager or a semi-truck driver or a pickup owner, can now relate to B20. It makes America’s Advanced Biofuel tangible and real. It builds a bridge between B20 and the masses, even if mostly symbolic for now. (For one thing, there was no evidence in the showroom that GM is marketing the B20 approval as part of its green branding, the way some other automakers have).

The Cruze’s launch also verifies a resurgence in diesel technology interest from the automakers as an ultra fuel-efficient and clean technology that rivals any hybrid. We’ve hoped for an American diesel passenger car for years. Now, we actually have one.

And I Have One, Too!

chevy_cruze_body_image_01_358x253I bought my crystal red Cruze in early August, the first one my local dealer had sold. It has many amazing mechanical and techie features which you can find more about on Edmunds.com. All I know is my car has some great “toys,” like XM Radio and Pandora, a reverse camera, bluetooth with audio streaming, remote start and more. (My Cruze also has two car seats in the back for now, and a few Cheerios, which personally I don’t think detracts from its stylishness).

Of course the responsible environmentalist in me cares most about the B20 approval and its 47 mpg EPA highway fuel economy rating. In the first week I owned the car, which included five school runs, one lunch meeting, weekend errands and entertainment, four trips to the gym, an airport run (40 miles roundtrip), a Shakespeare’s Pizza outing and a jaunt to National Biodiesel Board headquarters in Jefferson City, Mo. (70 miles roundtrip), I used just less than a half tank of fuel.

A Deep-Seated Belief

Before buying, I did some research on the Cruze’s main competitor, a brand I drove for 100,000 miles prior to my latest purchase. But my loyalty to biodiesel and its potential to alter our energy landscape surpasses any other brand loyalty I may have formed, and I never even went to the competitor’s showroom.

I have a deep-seated belief (that’s a pun) that using alternative energy is a serious commitment. To me it is a personal value as important as good nutrition and recycling. As Americans, our values are often reflected in our purchases. If more of us chose the wealth of cleaner-burning fuels like biodiesel that we have between our shores, it could propel us away from fossil fuels and imported oil faster than Video Killed the Radio Star hit the top of the music video charts.

Maybe that day is closer to us than we think. Renewable energy use will grow at a much faster rate than fossil energy use through 2040, according to projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2013, a product of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Alternative Fuels Rock

chevy_cruze_body_image_02_220x252Someday, my 5-year-old’s first car could be my Cruze. Technologically speaking, he will grow up in a very different world than mine. Even my two-year-old can navigate the iPhone and iPad without asking for help. And today’s teens don’t need MTV like I did. They have all the music and music videos they want at their fingertips on YouTube and other sources. They will never know what it’s like to have to WAIT. What used to be novel and exciting has become ordinary.

My hope is that the same will be true for alternative energy. When my kids come of age, maybe B20, B100 and other alternative fuels won’t be the alternative anymore – petroleum will. And my kids won’t understand why we ever chose fossil fuels when we had a bounty of renewable energy at our fingertips.

Did video kill the radio star? Actually it didn’t, but it did change our expectations. And so might the diesel Cruze.

2 Comments

  1. Akeem Babatunde says:

    Great talk Jenna, am also a die hard fan of green anergy I believe it will not take long for us to realize that sustainable energy is the solution the world energy crisis and global climate change even in the face of big petro-dollar market of fossil fuel. We need an active person that will take a bold step such as you did in not only identifying with renewable energy industry but also contributing to its development. We all have a responsbility to make this world a better place for not only this generation but next generation. Thumb up for you.

  2. Yan says:

    It seems that Chevy Cruze has been a star for green energy fans. And it is also a great invention for energy reform.

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