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

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  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I wasn't so much discussing the diesel engines vs the gasser engines as I was the vehicle surrounding the engines. I agree that the diesel engines whether in a GM or Ford or Honda or VW or Toyota or MB should outlast the gasser version of same. But in the case of VW the vehicle around the engine will cause the owner to commit acts of atrocity on the vehicle well before it gets to its gray years.

    Or, if the owner is madly in love with the engine he/she will just pay the bill every time it goes out on the town for a binge and comes limping home all apologetic. Lurking over at TDI Club leaves me with the impression that the owners hate the vehicle and love the engine. Longevity is good but what's the actual cost of getting to 225,000 miles if every part around the engine has to be replaced before the engine begins to show any age?
  • morey000morey000 Posts: 322
    We in the US always talk about mpg. Miles per gallon.
    However, it's a mentally difficult way to truly appreciate and understand the difference between the efficiency of vehicles, as it makes us think that going from 45 to 50mpg (as an example) has the same benefit as going from 20-25mpg.

    If we thought about it as gallons per (100) miles, it would be easier to understand.

    14.3 mpg = 7 gal per 100 miles
    16.7 mpg = 6 gal per 100 miles
    20mpg = 5 gal per 100 miles
    25 mpg = 4 gal per 100 miles- so, you save 1 gallon.
    to save one more gallon, you need to get 33 mpg.
    to same one more gallon again, you need to get 50 mpg!

    i.e. so, you save ***twice as much*** gas going from 14.3 mpg to 20 mpg, as you do going from 33 mpg to 50 mpg. Maybe that Hybrid Tahoe isn't such a bad idea!

    There's not very much additional *gas* savings between 41mpg and 48mpg, or whatever a prius gets. Diminishing returns.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    Perhaps we can move on until the EPA responds and have some more people respond to Shifty's original question (what would it take for YOU buy a stinky diesel).

    I'll even quit posting links - maybe that'll help. :shades:

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    I think the tax credit is essential to the question "what would it take for you to buy a diesel car". Many will justify the additional cost by taking the tax credit into consideration.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Hallelujah.... another who sees the light!!

    GPC is a far better metric than MPG. One makes it clear how much fuel is being used. It puts responsibility on the driver. The other is an ephemeral game 'How far can I get on one gallon'.

    The Tahoe/Yukon hybrids are fantastic for us as a country. If they are to be sold on the roads I propose that they all should be hybrids. They also address the worst problems first....the least efficient vehicles in the least efficient driving conditions.....SUVs in City driving.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,898
    Maybe a determing factor in diesel car purchase will be:

    "will people TRUST the EPA ratings on diesel cars when these cars hit the US market?"

    MODERATOR

  • boaz47boaz47 Posts: 2,750
    getting a diesel has is longevity and torque. Yes they tend to get better fuel mileage. But the problem right now is the cost of diesel fuel. In the winter we always end up paying a lot more for diesel because they use it for heating in some states. Not here in California but the price goes up here as well. Today diesel is only about 50 to 60 cents a gallon more than regular gas in my little town. That is better than it has been in a long time.

    I happen to like diesel and I can see no reason a diesel should cost more than a gas engine. It isn't like we have to pay for the R&D for the process. The excuse for the extra cost in a hybrid was always R&D.

    Here is the problem as I see it. It cost more to buy a diesel. Diesel cost more at the pump. Diesel cost more to service at this time. And if there is a problem with fuel useage diesel is not going to solve much of anything.

    If everyone in the US switched to diesel in the next ten years fuel useage would still increase world wide as China and India move into the auto age full bore.

    So bio diesel may be a solution but unlike another poster McBiodiesel seems a better source that other biodiesel because of the effect on our food supply. Same problem with ethanol. So I am still pulling for plug ins and other EVs. And then there in Hydrogen, the most plentiful element in the universe, if an infrastructure can be established.

    Now if there is no real fuel shortage and we are having our leg pulled again diesels will have a harder time because or the performance differences between them and a gas engine in a car.

    As far as electricity generation goes for charging EVs. Atomic energy works fine with me. Yes they can build one in my back yard I don't care.
  • VW TDI Diesl can get a combined 43 mpg. Just selling a 2006 that I put 70K miles on-- 50% highway-50% local. That was driving typcially 85 on the highway portion so could probably improve the 43 a bit if I slowed down.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,898
    43 mpg is pretty darn good at those speeds.

    Do you think you'll get a good resale price for it?

    MODERATOR

  • My first car was a 1981 VW Rabbit Diesel LS, which got 40+ MPG in the city and 55 MPG on the highway. Granted it was a crappy car performance-wise, but it was a tank as far as other things go. The only reason my family got rid of it was an accident where it was rear-ended at high speed in 1994 after 200,000+ miles and a stint overseas in Jakarta, Indonesia early in its life (1982-84). All the way up to the point it was pulled off the road because of the insurance settlement, it got me/anyone else driving it everywhere we wanted to go (even on the highway where I used to floor it endlessly and get it over the 85 MPH it was rated for). Rest of the car was falling apart by the time she died, but engine and powertrain was working fine with mostly normal maintenance!!!

    This car was a steal to drive (as far as fuel costs) in the early-mid 80s when we thought the world was going to end at $2-3 gas prices. I did a mental calculation with diesel at $5 a gallon and it would still be ridiculously cheap to drive at the MPG figures it got compared to almost everything else on the road now, except hybrids.

    Granted, EPA would never let a car like the '81 Diesel Rabbit out on the road now with the smoky exhaust it had, but I think cheap oil and the US Government has let auto manufacturers worldwide get lazy as far as improving fuel performance. Frankly, I think that if VW were to research back into its engineering records and combine the old early-80s models with the technology currently available (or in development), they could certainly meet or exceed what we had then!

    Damn, we should be able to get a diesel that approaches the hybrids' performance just on that, with marginal emissions increases (or a waiver)! Why isn't anyone asking the same question?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Granted, EPA would never let a car like the '81 Diesel Rabbit

    Actually I see them for sale here in CA a lot. They are perfectly legal with no smog tests required. As a matter of fact you can import any diesel car or SUV that is 20 years old or older with no smog restrictions. They should burn pretty clean with the mandated ULSD in the USA. Not as clean as the new diesels. The old ones did not have any smog crap on them.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    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.


    I did the same thing and got the same result with the Prius. I chose the Echo instead, where I continue to average about 42 mpg, again at roughly half the initial cost for the vehicle.

    With my driving pattern I should do much better in a diesel than in a hybrid, but I would definitely rent one if I were intending to buy, and see how I did for mpg. If it were not a very significant improvement over a small gas car, I would just get a small gas car.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    I would say the majority of people have no idea that the EPA numbers are inaccurate. That will make the upcoming diesel vehicles a hard sell for those that are not eagerly anticipating their arrival. If Joe 6pack walks into a VW showroom and sees the numbers on the two Jettas and noticed the price of diesel he would probably not even test drive the Jetta. I do think there are enough anxious buyers to take care of the first year sales. If they do well word of mouth is a powerful sales tool.

    If VW does put the independent mileage test numbers on the window sticker it will help those on the fence.

    For me I lost faith in the EPA 10 years ago. So it means nothing except the loss of a tax credit which I would not get anyway, unless Congress gets rid of AMT.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says, "I would say the majority of people have no idea that the EPA numbers are inaccurate."

    Um, that would be followed by a Great Big ole "NOT!"

    Go to the EPA forum and I will expound.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary says ,"If Joe 6pack walks into a VW showroom and sees the numbers on the two Jettas and noticed the price of diesel he would probably not even test drive the Jetta. "

    What percentage of SERIOUS Jetta shoppers do you think would come into the showroom having never heard of the independent MPG test? Or never having visited the vw.com website? And who would only know about the EPA numbers? And who would not be told about the 38/44 tests by the salesperson?

    That would probably be about 1% I would guess. VW is not going to lose any serious buyers because of the EPA results.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    I guess you think the buying public is better informed than I do. I talk to so many people that are clueless about cars. All they look at is if it looks good and how good the mileage is. If as you say the sales people are telling prospective customers about the independent test that would be good. When I went in they had not gotten their demo and the dealer told me they were taking $1000 deposit and selling at MSRP. Or I could order exactly what I wanted and it would be here about 90 days after the first shipment arrives. No other info was offered. I did not ask as I figured as usual I knew more about his product than he did.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    We've heard from some of the regulars now.

    Perhaps some others would like to add their .09 cents?

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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,898
    With no offense intended to anyone-----if I'm going to spend $30K on a vehicle, I'm not going to slavishly accept either the EPA numbers or what one owner got for MPG.

    I'm going to rent or borrow the vehicle and see what it does, or, second best, rely on a LONG TERM testing MPG done by a reputable car magazine.

    In the case of the Prius, the long term car mag tests tipped the public off long before the EPA did.

    MODERATOR

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,916
    due to household-drivers driving 35k miles per year now instead of 100k, i'm considering consolidating two vehicles into 1, or maybe just selling one,
    maybe the gas-powered-V8 or maybe the VW TDI.
    If I change vehicles I'm considering upgrade by super-sizing to a larger/stronger/more-capable-for-skiing diesel vehicle: short-list contains: 09 or 2010 vw tdi wagon, bmw diesel x5 or 335d. used benz diesel E or R. jeep GC-CRD.
    VW TDI with snow tires is rather unstoppable as a ski-vehicle however. VWs are fantastic cars, diesels especially so - don't listen to the haters ! !
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,356
    OK, here goes. Given what I have heard about modern diesels, I would buy one in a heartbeat if I was convinced that:

    1. The process of bringing it into compliance with EPA emission standards had not materially compromised the reliability, driveability, or fuel consumption.

    2. I did not feel that I was being ripped off by an unreasonable price premium either by the manufacturer or by the dealer.

    Of course, I would run the numbers for the lower consumption vs. the higher price of fuel, but I would not require that the numbers come out strictly in favor of the diesel, since I put value on the greater ability to use presently available alternative fuels such as biodiesel. In short, I would buy a diesel unless there was an obvious reason not to.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 122
    The diesel availablity thing was also brought up back in the late 70's when people were buying diesels due to the oil embargo issues.

    It turned out to be a non worry given stations added diesel - the fact that diesel is used by our major transport system ie trucks. Most Americans that bring up diesel as being an access issue are also generally not aware of it even when it is available.

    Another thing to note when the car gets around 30% better milege you find that your stopping less to fuel up and can go much farther so this also helps with the whole access issue.

    The arguments against diesel all pretty much fall flat especially with the new TDI technology of clean running smooth and sprited engines. There is a very - very good reason Diesel is the preferred choice in every country outside of the US.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    I have been an exclusive diesel owner since 1996. I will not go back to gasoline - several reasons why:

    - Better fuel economy: My truck (Dodge Ram 3500 Quad Cab 4x4 dually, Cummins diesel) gets about the same mileage as the base Ram 1500 regular cab shortbed with a V6 gasser. Yet my truck weighs 3000 pounds more, is 40 inches longer/17 inches wider/6 inches taller, seats twice as many people, and has enough payload to carry that 1500 in the bed.

    - Far more usable power: My trucl hits a torque peak of 610 lb-ft at just 1500 rpm, and a horsepower peak of 325 at 2900. Check the hp/torque peaks of today's gasoline engines - max torque is achieved at 4000+ rpm and hp is well above 5000 (sometimes close to 7000). Who drives all day at those rpms? And how long would that engine last doing it? I have 3.73 axle ratios to compensate for the factory 32-inch tires. There are family cars out there with 4.39 axles so that all that high-rpm power can actually get used, at the expense of the engine revving that high all the time.

    - Longevity and durability: Diesels don't blink at 200,000 miles, gasoline engines generally are in bad shape at that mileage. And diesels thrive on hard work, when a gasser will usually ask for a couple days off.

    I have no trouble affording the truck. But even if I had to change vehicles and downsize, I would still stay with a diesel.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    I have seen a lot of mention of VW quality/reliability/durability problems here. I consistently get 50+ mpg overall with my TDI. I have had virtually no problems with mine. As you can see if you check the numbers, VW quality has improved considerably with the 2005 models (latest to be tested for 3 year durability). Regardless, if you are going to buy a VW TDI, find a good TDI mechanic. That is generally NOT your dealer. Check Fred's TDI page. You won't be sorry.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    find a good TDI mechanic.

    That is good advice for any make or model of vehicle. Gas or diesel. VW or Lexus. Trusting a dealer to treat you honestly is a BIG mistake.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,898
    Trucks are a whole other consideration regarding diesel engines, which is why I tried to restrict the topic to diesel "cars". In my mind, the arguments are more up for grabs when discussing diesel cars, whereas for people who need to do heavy duty work with a pickup, a diesel engine is kind of a self-evident choice.

    so what I mean is that the very characteristics that might charm a big pickup owner might turn off a passenger car buyer.

    MODERATOR

  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,415
    Or not. The Mercedes Bluetec doesn't have much downside, except for expense in buying a Mercedes: it's powerful, economical, quiet, instant starting, no stink. What's not to like? The inexpensive ones coming will likely have the same improvements.
  • vtdogvtdog Posts: 163
    I have had 2 diesel vehicles. I owned a '78 diesel VW Rabbit which regularly got 50mpg and had almost no maintenance beyond routine upkeep. I drove that car over 175k miles and only had to get rid of it when the body was so rusted out it would not pass inspection. I sold the car to a rabbit pickup owner who put the engine in his truck. Two years later that pickup was still running, but of course that was a long time ago.

    I presently own an '05 Jeep Liberty Diesel with about 70k miles on it. The vehicle has been essentially trouble free (except for recalls) and I normally get 25+/- in the summer and 23 +/- in the winter for combined driving. I recently got just under 28 mpg on a long trip at 75mph with the AC on.

    Considering that I never got better than 17.5 mpg with my XTERRA I am ok with diesel being 20% more at present as my "extra" cost per gallon is more than offset by the increased mpg . During the time I have had the Jeep diesel was actually lower cost than gasoline during summer months. Maybe this will happen again, but who knows.

    I have never experienced a problem with locating a diesel station either. I don't remember the exact stat, but I believe about 60% of stations sell diesel. In addition, I use a bio-diesel blend when I can find it which further reduces my use of fossil fuels.

    In addition, with the recent introduction of ultra low sulphur diesel (ULSD) the cars production of pollutants is reduced AND the fuel itself does not smell much anymore.

    All in all I believe "clean" diesel technology is a good option.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,898
    Well what's not to like is Mercedes quality control issues....ditto VW. It seems that unfortunately the very automakers that have the most promising new diesel cars to offer us also have a reliability rap sheet that at best would be called "average".

    MODERATOR

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    What would it take for me to own a diesel car?

    There are two givens regarding diesel powered cars:

    1. Diesel fuel smells worse than gasoline

    2. Diesel engines have a lower redline (usually 4-5K RPM vs. 6-7K RPM)

    Those issues aside, what would make me jump to a diesel is if there were no day-to-day driving penalties, which includes initial cost of ownership (no diesel premium!) and the cost of the fuel be roughly equivalent. The diesel should start up and perform just like an equivalent gasoline engine in the same car.

    My folks owned a '72 MB 220D ... even in California, you had to wait 45-60 seconds for the "glow plugs" to warm up before you could start the car. It also rattled and smoked. If those issues were to be resolved, I could be tempted to drive a diesel.

    At my local station, RUG is 3.779/gal and Diesel is 4.399/gal.
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