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What Would It Take for YOU to buy a diesel car?

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "Sadly people believe their government and find out later it is all lies"

    Which part is a lie? The tests which the carmakers do themselves? The EPA allows the carmakers to lie? Because you yourself know that most of the testing is done by the carmakers.

    Gary says, "The way it is the poor customer has NO recourse when he buys a Prius that was rated 60 MPG city and he is getting 40 MPG."

    What "recourse" would you say they deserved? The EPA test was flawed, but regardless of that fact, ALL THE CARS GET THE MPG which is on the sticker when the EPA test is performed on them. Of that there can be no doubt.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,052
    If when we start getting real world numbers from Jetta TDI owners, and they are not equal to the EPA we can consider the EPA tests for ALL future diesel vehicles false information. If they are in the 41 MPG range we can file a class action suit against the EPA for cheating the buyers out of tax credit money. Included in that lawsuit should be a suggestion that Congress do away with the EPA fuel economy tests that they seem so inept at gathering. At least the old tests were close for diesel cars. The new ones are not even in the ballpark.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sadly, no where my friend. Gary and I are a couple of stubborn mules. The sad part for me is that I know I am right and that he is misguided. But I can never convince him of that, even when the facts are on my side.

    Sorry for wasting the other reader's time.

    I'll stop now.....

    P.S. Back on Topic - I would want a diesel hybrid 5-passenger car rated in the 60+ MPG range before I would buy a diesel car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    If I'm going to buy a car based on the published MPG, I"m going to drive the damn thing myself first and find out what gas mileage it really gets, because what Mr. X gets in Ohio is not necessarily what I'm going to experience, nor is what the EPA says.

    I did this with a friend's Prius (nice of him) and figured out that how I drive and where I drive means that if I bought this car, I'd average between 44-47 mpg on an annual basis.

    So I bought a brand new Scion xA for about 1/2 the price and settled for a very real 34 MPG.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "At least the old tests were close for diesel cars. The new ones are not even in the ballpark."

    I'd say the 2009 JEtta combined EPA of 35 is "in the ballpark" with AMCI's combined 41 mpg. Since when is 35 not in the ballpark with 41?

    There are TCH users getting below 35 and higher than 41, so that is within the range of real-world driver differences. Will it not be the same for the Jetta? Some Jetta drivers will get below 41 and some will get more.

    And remember: out of the 615 2008 cars the EPA tested with the new method, only ONE of them was diesel. Not a lot of data there to figure out why and how to re-work the test to fit diesels in better, was there?
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    2009 Jetta TDI 2.0L DSG Fuel Economy

    EPA City: 29 Highway: 40 Combined: 33
    AMCI City: 38 Highway: 44 Combined: 41


    So, highway only went up 4 points? Not much of an improvement there, and still a ways away from 50+ mpg. :cry:
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Yes I do. See post 120 for an internal VW memo.

    If it had been the EPA test, the Memo would have said so. Instead, it said "real world" testing.

    We all know that the EPA test is in a lab.

    Just put two and two twogether.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,052
    ALL THE CARS GET THE MPG which is on the sticker when the EPA test is performed on them. Of that there can be no doubt.

    I know you believe that. It does not make it so. If the automaker decides to do the test with an engine that has several hundred hours they will get a different set of numbers than one never run before. There is enough difference in fuel around the country to change the readings by 10-15-20%. There needs to be over sight on that bunch of loonies. We know the leader is a whacked out environmentalist that has threatened to quit because he does not like the President's energy policy. So I have to question everything the EPA does that is not looking right.
  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 122
    I would own a 4dr diesel now if it had been a choice back in 2001. VW and MB don't count given their lack of durability vs price etc.

    Honda - Subaru - Nissan and yes I'll say it even a smart sharply designed American made 4dr diesel would have all been at the top of my list in 2001.

    Now its 2008 and I've decided my next car will be diesel no excuses or buts about it but again VW is at the bottom of my list. Sorry I hate VW the last two I owned were horrible cars and the dealers were even worse.

    So rumors about Ford bringing its sleek and pretty stylish Euro Fiesta here to the US this is the first Ford I've found interesting since hmm? Can't remember last time I even considered Ford show rooms a place to stop by and ask questions. If the Festiva shows up on US shores with Euro styling - cool interior options and a diesel it will be at the top of my list to go test drive.

    I'm a first time Subaru owner (traded my Toyota in for the subaru) and of all the cars I've owned or had access too my non turbo legacy has been fantastic and Subaru the dealers and company have been over the top shockingly fantastic to me. If the current Subaru Impreza were offered with a leather package - sun roof and a diesel this very day - I would be standing at the dealer with cash in hand for my diesel impreza.

    If Mini Cooper had a diesel option I'm pretty sure my wife would have one on order cash in hand. We make enough we could buy a BMW 335D but neither of us will ever spend that sort of money on a car. Same goes for the Audi Q7 or whatever that TDI V12 beast is.

    On the other hand I really liked the 120D BMW' wagons we saw in Spain assuming they aren't $50,000 cars that would be on my list.

    I really - hope that by 2010 we do have diesel cars to choose from because thats when I plan on replacing my 2001 subaru which will be in the 200,000 mile range by then. If subaru has a 6spd manual -diesel passenger car it will be #1 on my list, if they don't have diesel here - and Ford has the Festiva I'll take a look at it and might consider it for a commuter car and thats saying alot given I thought Ford went out of business years ago, HA HA.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "If the automaker decides to do the test with an engine that has several hundred hours they will get a different set of numbers than one never run before."

    We have done this rodeo before, Amigo.

    Read my typing:

    No Carmaker Would Risk Submitting A Test Result Which The EPA Could Test Themselves And Dispute.

    The EPA does not allow any "gaming" when it comes to results on which they put their name.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    with real world examples is we have so many real world consumers that simply use higher fuel mileage capable car to drive like they always have. I can't tell you the number of people I see wiping their little diesels trying to run with traffic when traffic is running like they just got out of a NASCAR pit stop.

    Same thing happens with Prius drivers and other Hybrid drivers. But even that isn't going to cut it if this fuel crisis is real. Plug in hybrids seem like a much better solution rather than trying to squeeze into a Smart sized car with a diesel. The other problem is diesel doesn't burn as clean as Gas it has to be filtered and trapped into being as clean, a fact yet to be seen. But for the filters and traps to work they have to be serviced and once again you are dealing with the average American Consumer.

    I see a lot more use in a diesel SUV, or larger sedan because it plays ot the diesel strong point, torque. Much like gagrice my Tahoe gets at best 16-18 MPG at 55MPH on cruise control. But where a diesel might get 20 in a X-5 it wouldn't pulling a 6000 pound boat. When I took my last trip to Colorado I averaged 12 MPG pulling our travel trailer. I have an older 5.7 and just a cold air and aftermarket exhaust. Most of the diesels at the camp ground were telling me they were getting 14 to 15 driving the save route as I. My best fuel mileage was 13 on that trip. The diesels could easily pass me going up a long hill or into a heavy head wind but only three MPG isn't enough to get me to go for the extra expense for servicing and fuel let alone the extra 5 to 7K out the door.

    So to sell me on a diesel it has to overcome the price difference both out the door and at the pump and pay for itself before it wears out. VWs dependability rating over a three year period isn't very impressive and I would be interested if they might want to hire an independent company to try and change that perception.

    If my options are getting a Honda or Toyota Hybrid promising 50 MPG, even if I would wait for a plug in hybrid anyway, or getting a 40 to 44 MPG VW the choice should be easy. Toyota and Honda have a very good dependability track record and should last for several years. VW has a poor track record and has had a poor one for as many years as I have been reading dependability studies. You can always pay you money and take you chances but the safer bet is the cars that have the best record.
  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 122
    The diesel truck thing diesel helps a little but the major fuel killer with the SUV's and toy hauling trucks is weight and the aerodynamics of a brick. No doubt diesel trucks and SUV's would get slightly better milege as they are now - they would get better milege if they were not being built to be quite a bit more powerful than the gas counter part. Which todays diesel trucks vs the gas trucks are being built with alot more wheel twisting power than the gas trucks idea being if they get slightly better milege but offer much much better towing capacity then its an easy sell for the added cost vs - saying here is the diesel truck it gets 10mpg better than the gas version it drives and tows about the same as the gas truck but costs $8000 more.

    The new diesel technology being touted in the passenger cars hasn't been applied to the trucks we have in the US, which would increase the milege a little more over our current diesel trucks but unless the builders opted for smaller engines and improved areodynamics the change wouldn't be that great.

    But when applied to lighter - and sleek passenger cars the milege difference can be quite large between the gas version and the diesel version.

    For kicks I have an old school Toyota Land cruiser 1994 strait 6 gasser 13mpg no matter how its driven fast or slow, or what it tows -ie the aerodynamics of a brick. The same exact land cruiser in Tanzania with a low tech strait 6 diesel driven for max milege can get into the 24mpg US standard - range quite a large difference. Though at freeway speeds much like what we do here in the US the diesel version gets down around 19mpg. Granted its a dirty old diesel though still cleaner than the new Range Rover TDI's which smoke like old garbage trucks.
  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    You are talking about the problem i ran into when looking for a tow rig for my trailer. Get a diesel and I had to get something that was 5-10 more out the door. Now if I can pull a trailer at 12 to 13 MPG and a Chevy 2500 pulls their trailer at 15-16 MPG I can't drive any further on 100 bucks in the diesel than I can with the Tahoe. Mt old 97 F-250 7.2 Powerstroke got 20 pulling the same weight. It seems like we are going in the wrong direction.

    With a car a Plug in Hybrid would get closer to 70 MPG for the first 40 to 50 miles. That is the reports I have read anyway and the reasoning for the plug in conversions to Prius we read about. You simply can't get that with a common rail diesel in the same size car. Turbo charging and making high pressure injector are not moving fuel mileage in the right direction. Yes the diesels are performing more like a gas rig but they are not getting diesel fuel mileage. Like I said the old dirty diesel Rabbit got close to 50 MPG 25 years ago. Diesels seem to be going in the same direction the rest of our automotive fleet was, more power, less fuel mileage.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,295
    If the automaker decides to do the test with an engine that has several hundred hours they will get a different set of numbers than one never run before. There is enough difference in fuel around the country to change the readings by 10-15-20%.

    The EPA regulates stuff like this. The '85 rules say that if a car is tested with an engine that has more than 6,200 miles on it, they have to adjust the test data per a formula. If the manufacturer wants to use, say, a certain oil for testing the mpg of an engine, it has to be representative of what is likely to be used by consumers.

    Here's the link if you care to click through to the rules. I just happened to land on that one - I'm sure the newer rules kept tinkering with the loopholes.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,052
    In my quick search of the EPA site I could not find much that gave me reason to believe they do a very consistent test of automobiles. The use of the phrase "approximate different driving" can give such a wide variation for the tester to follow. Does he stomp on the gas, slam on the brakes, hate diesel cars as most EPA GREENIES do. I'm afraid you and larsb have a real job convincing me that the EPA or CARB are interested in honest assessment of diesel car mileage.

    From EPA:

    Dr. Greene

    The old tests are now more than 40 years old, based on driving that doesn’t include high-speed highway driving, doesn’t include the kind of rapid acceleration that modern vehicles are capable of, and doesn’t include as much use of air conditioners or accessory equipment as we now have on automobiles.
    Vazquez

    The test itself is run on a chassis dynamometer in a controlled laboratory environment. The test cycle driver follows a pre-programmed “route” that approximates stops and starts in an urban environment, idling time, and free-flowing traffic at up to 60 miles-per-hour.
    The raw economy numbers from these tests are used in determining a carmakers compliance with Federal CAFE standards, but the number found on the window sticker is determined by applying a preset multiplier, to account for variables such as wind, temperature and driving conditions that can lower fuel economy.
    For the past few years, though, the EPA has been re-thinking this procedure, trying to get estimates that are more consistently closer to real-world driving results.
    Donn Weinberg

    As long as they feel it’s going to more accurately reflect what people will to get and if in fact they are going to take into account there are many aggressive drivers, so much the better.
    Vazquez

    So beginning with 2008 model-year cars, the EPA is including results from three additional test cycles in their calculations: One that includes more aggressive acceleration and highway speeds up to 80 miles-per-hour, another with the use of air conditioning, and finally a 20-degree cold start.
    Of course, the reason for providing fuel economy estimates is so car buyers can choose the most efficient vehicle that meets their needs, so the window stickers themselves are also changing with the times.


    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/motorweektranscriptfueleconomytests.shtml

    By the very statements made by EPA personnel there is no way you could get the same results twice on the same vehicle. It is humanly impossible. One tester will stomp on the gas the next will smoothly accelerate. These are not machine tests. They are done by different humans on vehicle set up on a dyno. Was he in a hurry to get out for a smoke break. I'm sorry you guys are easy if you believe there is anything consistent about the way the EPA operates.

    VW should sue the EPA for loss of tax credits due their buyers.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    My first criteria for getting a diesel would be that I would have to have wide, full access to bio-diesel and bio-diesel only. Dino-diesel or MiceyD's-grease-diesel is a no go. I'd hope that soon in the future we could develop a system of locally-made bio-diesel from algae or some other source that would be made by municipalities for their own citizens and anyone else who might be passing through. National standards would have to be instituted for this reason. All the monies from the production and sale of this home-grown-brew would stay here.

    Given the past experiences I wouldn't get a VW diesel at any price. I'd wait for Honda, Ford, GM, Nissan or Toyota to offer one first.

    With the advances in gasser technology just around the corner and the pricing differential there is little or no economic benefit for the individual consumer at the current levels. I do recognize though that there IS a benefit for the nation as a whole to use less fuel in a diesel than in a gasser.....excluding the hybrids.

    I don't think that diesel technology can progress as fast as hybrid technology will.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,295
    I forgot to note the link, but one EPA one I ran across talked about how the EPA crosschecked their numbers with the likes of Popular Mechanics, Consumer Reports, some fleet numbers and yes, even Edmunds Long Term car tests to see how they compared to real world numbers and how the rating should be tweaked.

    Between the test criteria and the double-checking of the manufacturer results by the EPA, I'd say they are the best snapshot of mpg out there.

    And those diesel mpg ratings will have to hit 60ish before I'd really consider a diesel in the garage - I might could put up with the other issues for a 5 or 600 mile range on a vehicle.

    [Edit - ok, here's the pdf link that talks about the recent revision of the mpg standards and how the EPA looked at AAA, CR, Strategic Vision and Edmunds numbers while redoing their regs. Should also note that the automakers are heavily involved in commenting on all these rules.]

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Regardless, there were and are people who get 60 mpg with the Prius in the City.

    This is true. I can take any Prius in good working order and get 60-70 mpg in the City for any period from 30 min to 30 months ( in fact I do it every day). There was nothing wrong with the old EPA ratings except that few of us drove in the manner that the test were done. The same is true of Highway driving. In fact I've been getting the 'old' EPA values for the entire 85000 miles I've owned this current Prius ( adjusted of course for weather, inclement conditions and high speed driving )
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I would have to have wide, full access to bio-diesel and bio-diesel only.

    I know a local oil company that carries bio-diesel and I've thought about just getting a contract for them to fill the old heating oil tank in my backyard, and filling the car from that if I ever get a diesel car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    I guess I mentioned that I've surveyed 5 of my friends with Priuses and they average 41-47 mpg. This is from their own book records and over substantial mileages. I did this because I was thinking of writing an article but someone beat me to it.

    I got 99 MPG in a Prius coasting down a mountain pass on Hwy 70 into Grand Junction Colorado :P

    I guess if you crept around the city on battery power or a light gas pedal under 35 mph you could crack 60 MPG. Never did that myself but it seems feasible. But you can't drive like that in San Francisco.

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  • There a huge amount of misinformation concerning diesels expressed in this question.

    I farm and have used diesels for over 40 years. First of all they get 40 to 100+% better fuel burn than gas. Secondly, their life expectancy is 3 to 7 time a corresponding gas engine which means the diesel far out lives the car/truck.

    The present hybrids are the must expensive at 200,000 miles, next is gas, and then diesels. Go to 400,000 miles and check cost and you will love diesel.

    If you want the best get a "Stanley Steamer'
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    That's one thing I think about sometimes - these people bickering over what MPG a car gets might live in totally different terrain. I noticed my mileage dropped a little when I moved from super flat Florida to super hilly Birmingham, AL.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    In my experience, car engines still typically run fine when the rest of the car is a steaming pile of crap. So what good is longer engine life unless you are driving a Peterbilt?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,052
    This from the EPA link you posted says it all.

    With respect to the mpg-based label values, diesels still perform the best of the four types of vehicles, now exceeding their label values by 18%

    What I did not found is an apology for cheating all future VW Jetta TDI purchasers out of their Tax credit difference. There is no doubt in my mind that the new Jetta TDI will increase the mileage over the 2002 gas Jetta by enough to warrant the full allowed tax credit of $3400. The whole idea of the tax credit was to encourage people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. The actions of the EPA knowingly down grading the diesel estimates does not seem to be encouraging people to save fossil fuel.

    The other thing I learned from that 179 page report. Edmund's drivers are all hotdogs.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,052
    I moved from super flat Florida to super hilly Birmingham, AL.

    That is exactly right. A small gas engine is fine where it is flat as a pancake. Where I live the terrain goes from sea level to 4500 foot pass in 35 miles with lots of up and down. Just my jaunt to Costco takes me from near sea level to my home at 2060 feet. With one grade that my Ford Ranger V6 cannot keep up with the 75 MPH+ traffic. Neither can the Prius and many others. It causes traffic issues that are not pleasant. I usually drive on the old highway 80 that winds through the hills rather going straight over them. I found my diesel Passat handled those speeds with ease. Better than my gas guzzling Sequoia. So first real opportunity I will buy a diesel SUV and sell the Sequoia. They are still very popular around here.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I guess if you crept around the city on battery power or a light gas pedal under 35 mph you could crack 60 MPG. Never did that myself but it seems feasible. But you can't drive like that in San Francisco.

    Absolutely! because that's exactly the methodology of the old EPA test. That is precisely the test. I've done it in NYC, I've done it in Va Beach, I've done it on the shore in NC. If one was to drive exactly according to the EPA test parameters then hitting 60+ mpg in the City is easy to do.

    Just after I made the prior post I left work and had to fill up by chance. Thus I was able to get a good measurement of speed & traffic vs fuel economy.
    For the first 15 miles it was small town driving with few lights at a constant speed of about 40-45 mph. For that segment I ran at about 58 mpg. That's faster than the 35 mph avg of the old EPA test so it makes sense.
    For the next 60 miles it was rural highways, with a 45-55 speed limit and multiple unmarked cruisers, where 58-63 is 'safe'. For that segment ( 80% of the weighted avg ) I ran at ~ 53 mpg.
    That's an overall average of 54.4 mpg ( 20% @ 58 + 80% @ 53 ).

    The weather was perfect @ 65 deg with good traction on a dead flat terrain...which also are the exact parameters of the old EPA tests.

    Rinse, wash, repeat twice daily for 3 yrs and 85000 mi.

    So why is the lifetime average only 47.8 mpg? Winter driving!!! Depending on the severity of the winter weather FE drops by 10-20% from Nov through Mar.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The present hybrids are the must expensive at 200,000 miles, next is gas, and then diesels. Go to 400,000 miles and check cost and you will love diesel.

    This is erroneous, sorry.

    First you're talking about farm equipment, mainly trucks, and there are no hybrid trucks - yet. GM will have them soon. Thus there is no valid data to support your statement.

    Now if you're speaking about autos where there is some data up to 200,000 miles the correct order ( depending on the maker of the vehicle ) is hybrids cost the least, diesels are 2nd ( unless it's a VW then it's last ) and gassers are the most costly.

    This is very easy to show.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Depending on the severity of the winter weather FE drops by 10-20% from Nov through Mar.

    I wonder how much of that is the reduced output from the batteries in colder temperatures?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    You can't really judge the longevity of a car diesel engine based on what happens inside a Peterbilt truck, the engine of which stands as tall as the average man. These heavily built monsters are not VW TDIs.

    I recall reading fleet maintenance reports from Europe (where diesel cars and light trucks are common) and they suggest that the statistical lifespan of a gasoline engine is 175,000 miles and a diesel 225,000 miles.

    Somehow this sounds about right to me, for a real car in the real world, as maintained by your average American driver.

    Diesel engines are built stronger, that is true, but they cost more to make and they require not LESS, but DIFFERENT maintenance.

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Since I track everything......... ;) . The MFD helps immensely but a scanguage tool is better yet.

    The contributing factors in reduced FE in winter driving are :
    ...The ICE has to work longer and harder in very cold weather to warm up the fluids, warm up the cabin ( and keep it comfortable ) and to warm up the cat converter. The colder the weather the more the ICE has to run. The big benefit to the hybrids is that the ICE can be shut down for long periods. In winter this isn't so easy to do.

    ...WIND!! It's a huge deterrent to good FE. Think riding a bicycle into a 20 mph head wind.

    ...Worse traction from snow, ice, slush, rain, etc.

    The latter 2 affect all vehicles the same, they all suffer in bad winter driving. The first results in the hybrids having only a small benefit over the non-hybrids because the hybrid ICE has to run almost the same as it does in a non-hybrid. Long trips are good for the hybrids in winter. Short trips are DEATH to FE.
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