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Is This the "Day of the Diesel?"

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,918
edited March 6 in General
Though popular in Europe, diesels are scarce in the U.S. Is that about to change?
Day of the Diesel (plus 10 diesels you can buy now)

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Lord, I hope so. I'm still cheesed off that a 20-year-old Isuzu pickup with a diesel engine developed when dinosaurs walked the Earth got better mileage than any straight gas car sold in the US today. Heck, I've even thought about getting the front clip from a diesel Laurel and swapping the RD28T into a 240SX to get a diesel ride.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    I just considered the hybrids for about 2 years now...really did research on them the last 6 months...and finally,,, bought a diesel !!

    The diesel 2002 jetta TDI that I got gets really respectable mileage...around 38 in town, and up to 49 mpg highway. IT has lots of power in low end....and I have a tow hitch on it.

    Only negative was the relative bad diesel smell....so I am using biodiesel from BioFuel Oasis in Berkeley, which has ASTM biodiesel at $3.70 per gallon. Yes...it costs a lot...but it is non toxic, cleaner than alot of vehicles, and a renewable resource.

    Diesels are great also because the engine lasts a long time....meaning you save the EARTH by using the engine for a long time....you save many resources and energy...versus a gas or hybrid engine, which may not last as long.

    To be fair, more and more gasoline engines are lasting longer..with 150,000 miles plus being common. I think hybrid technology is great also...but the thing about replacing batteries is just too environmentally unkind, and makes up for the gas and clean air savings.....

    I am all for a hybrid drive (HSD) Diesel engine....if and when one becomes available and the car maker does not milk people for it...... Nowadays the car dealers are charging lots of money for the hybrids....

    so I think diesel is the way to go....
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,757
    -38MPG

    -700 miles per tank

    -0-60 in 6.6

    Mercedes style.

    They're dialing my Area Code :shades:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    They would be dialing in a lot more area codes except for the $3.70/gallon price.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,703
    $3.70??!! Sounds like you need to find yourself a NEW area code. ;)

    Current national average is over $1 less than that, and its reported as being $2.50 in my area.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    I believe the $3.70 biodiesel is in the Bay area of CA. Not known for bargain prices on gas or diesel. I think highender is making an environmental statement with using the VW TDI and biodiesel. Same as driving a Prius.

    That said biodiesel should come down some as supply catches up with the demand. Green Star supplies that area with biodiesel. They just built another plant in Bakersfield according to the president will try to get biodiesel into other areas of CA.

    http://www.greenstarusa.com/products/biodiesel.html
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    The real problem here is this article is TRULY the documentation of a miracle in CA, while nobody CARES !! The building of a plant in CA might not be considered noteworthy, but if this were an crude oil refinery plant(ostensibly to produce unleaded regular for CA use), the whole state of CA; if not the USA would come out of the woodwork to STOP it WAY before the planning stages. Noteworthy, a crude oil refinery is probably much more dangerous exponentially on many more if not ALL levels, such as; health and safety, than a bio diesel processing plant. Yet there are those (again on many levels) that INSIST on NOT deviating from the use of unleaded regular despites its known and demonstrated higher costs, higher dangers ON EVERY LEVEL. So kudos to the entreprenuerial spirit. Longer term, hopefully the price of #2 diesel and biodiesel goes down and dramatically.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    It looks to me like crude oil will have to be over $60 per barrel for biodiesel to be economical. I believe that GSPI is using mostly soy beans for biodiesel production. I am not sure if they are shipped in or CA grown. I think we will always pay more for fuel of any kind in CA. We may not have any higher fuel tax. We just have limitations on how and where we get our fuel. I did not know until a recent article that only CA produced diesel was allowed to be used here. Well that makes it tough to have any kind of competitive pricing. I just look at it as the price we pay to live in semi paradise. The prices are even higher in Hawaii, which IS Paradise.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    Yes, given the MAX 2.9% demand (% of the diesel passenger vehicle fleet)and the system of highway taxation, it will be tied to the price of crude oil.

    Truly that might have been the "deal with the devil" in the Faustian sense. If that is indeed true, then yes by structure almost guarantees at the very least, higher bio diesel prices.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    Please read post #3...It's not me that paid $3.70/gallon but highender!!!
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    LOL...hi guys...

    Yes... I drove my newly bought, used VW Jetta to Berkeley, drove into the one door garage, and signed up and filled out the waivers and other forms. Then pumped the biodiesel. IT is required that we sign up for this alternative fuel, which was granted exemption by the STATE of California, to the howls of protest by the Oil industry . Good thing logic prevailed, but not after much concessions on the diesel/biodiesel side.

    So we pay extra.... $3.70 about one week ago, to use this renewable resource. I have to admit, I did a double take...and thought a little whether I should spend more than $1 extra per gallon , just to make a statement. Then my logic for greater good ( like it does to you all) got a hold of me, and kicked the devil that was counting pennies in me, and I filled up. THere was one old American pickup before me, and another VW Jetta after me.

    I hope the oil companies not try to smother this renewable and easy resource.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    You are right, Gagrice...! I hope biodiesel supply catches up with demand. On the other hand, I think diesels are good at the end or near middle of engine lifespan...meaning the engine lasts a long time...and thus one is saving the Earth by using a product that lasts a long time.

    Thanks for the advice, and the link to Green Star.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    I think keeping a vehicle for a long time may be the best thing we can do for our environment. We are buying too much stuff that is throw away. Cars seem to be headed in that direction. Hope that TDI gives you many years of good service. Be sure and check out the tdiclub if you have not been there.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    That the Green environmentalists allowed the biodiesel plant... I think sometimes there extreme protesting is nonproductive and hypocritical, but that is off topic.

    I think most people have some GREEN cells in thier makeup, and support the recycling or conservation efforts.

    I am also hopeful that diesel and biodiesel goes down in terms of prices...

    However, due to demand and oil industry monopoly, I think it will stay relatively higher than it should be.

    FOr the record, I have been in contact with a few home brewers of biodiesel, who bought or built their own processor, and does all the work. They tell me that the important ingredient in processing is the methanol, which now still comes from the oil industry. IT used to be only $3 a gallon, but now that the oil industry figured out what people were doing, it upped the price to $4.50...even though prices for gasoline came down.

    One brewer said he had about 250 gallons of vegi oil sitting around, while he figures out where to get the methanol .

    So oil industry has been attacking biodiesel on 2 fronts, thru legislation and by extorting high prices for one of the key ingredients for biodiesel processing.

    Therefore the $3.70 price tag, even though gas prices have been dropping, biodiesel went up in price.

    OK....I hope , like Rukes says, that the prices come down. I hope the oil industry realizes that biodiesel is not competition, since crude oil and diesel will always have a buyer...
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    Thanks gagrice...I signed up there also, with same callsign.

    IT gave me alot of info also....

    I agree with the detrimental throw away lifestyle that may need to be attenuated or decreased , depending on your viewpoint.

    I do hope I get alot of years out of the jetta. THe previous owner was meticulous to the point of extreme, saving all old parts to show me and all documents. He did all his mods, so that the manifold would not clog. Lots of tricks he told me , and I found collaborating info there.

    I am using it to commute, but there are also lots of local , in town usage, so my mileage is not 49 mpg , for now. But I think freeeway definitely is close to 45+.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    I would also agree. To in effect "throw away" a car or buy a new car because it needs new tires, brakes, shock absorbers, etc, really makes not a lot of sense on many levels. However on the opposite side it can make all the sense in the world. So actually MY middle ground is sculpt the host of things that it takes, so the average age of the passenger vehicle fleet can be higher. A good start is a diesel engine in a durable environment.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    Yes.. I would agreee to that...

    but here is the question:

    I have heard that many people see diesels run for 200,000 miles, even 300,000 miles.... Is that realistic ? Or the minority ?

    Of course, that is taking into consideration that one does all the maintenance and timing belt and injector pump replacements. But can the engine run that long ?
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    Starting off, diesels ARE a minority. Since passenger diesels are the quintessential definition of "minority" population (2.3-2.9%) I would say the TENDENCY is for those folks to not be unlike the greater population. However I see not much problem with 250,000 on up. My personal goal is a minimium of 500,000 miles. Indeed a new engine at say 500,000 miles is STILL far cheaper than a new car.
  • highenderhighender Posts: 1,364
    I agree again.

    I also hear that diesels are just about broken in when they have 60,000 or 100,000 miles.!! OF course, this is up to speculation, but I think it is not too far off.

    I am hoping at least 300,000 miles. :)
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    Properly maintained, I would think you should see at least 300K. I have over 200K on a 1985 SAAB 900 SOHC 4-cylinder gas engine, and the only replacement as been one clutch, and no engine parts. In fact, the head's never been off, and it's still going strong. So, I think any diesel should be in good shape after 300K+.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    I have heard that many people see diesels run for 200,000 miles, even 300,000 miles

    I read an article in a business magazine. This company only bought used Mercedes diesel cars for their sales staff. They liked getting them with about 100k miles. They ran them to at least 250K miles and sometimes more depending on the condition of the rest of the car. They claimed very low cost per mile doing that. And the sales people were driving a luxury car.

    I have read here on Edmunds of VW owners with 1970s diesels still going strong. I think a gas or diesel engine that is maintained can go longer than the car. Many cars rust away before the engine quits running. IF well maintained.

    What bothers me with all new cars is the electronics. Electronics are more susceptible to cold and heat. As cheap as electronics are when you go to replace a module in a car it is EXPENSIVE.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    October 13, 2006

    Biofuel production coming to Watsonville
    By Daniel Lopez
    Sentinel staff writer
    WATSONVILLE — A $1.5 million biofuel production plant — the first of its kind in the county — could be up and running by February.

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2006/October/13/local/stories/11local.h- tm
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    paid $2.39/gallon for 87 unleaded, diesel was $2.99/gallon. 25% more. Yes, I am in California. Is there a diesel passenger car (4 doors) that can get me 55 mpg routinely, to make up for this price differential? Is there even one in the pipeline, looking several years out to what automakers are pretty sure they can bring us (but not certain yet, as the EPA is still deciding whose diesels are up to snuff for the new 2007+ smog regs) by 2010?

    The car I was filling up gets me 41 mpg as a running average, running on 87 octane gas, in routine suburban driving and work commuting.

    'Nuf said?

    :-P

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

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    The car I was filling up gets me 41 mpg as a running average, running on 87 octane gas

    I hope you are not comparing a 2000lb Echo to a 3200lb Jetta for mileage. Emissions is a wash for the Echo and the Jetta TDI. Can you imagine what kind of mileage you would get if that Echo had a 1.5L diesel? You would have a real cheap ride. I would say 70 MPG would be easy for you to get.

    A couple other factors. The high price of diesel in CA is brought about by our laws and taxes. There are additional taxes in CA on diesel over gas. Plus only diesel refined in CA is allowed. Makes for NO competition. Just the way CARB conceived it. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the laws and taxes are there to discourage the use of diesel in this state.

    Interesting fact is with diesel cars not allowed to get a foothold in CA, we still have the number one highest pollution in the LA basin. So it cannot be blamed on diesel passenger cars.

    Last, you could move to San Diego if you get a diesel car. We have ULSD by BP for $2.51 per gallon. That is only 10% more than the cheapest unleaded which is $2.26 per gallon.

    The Jetta is much safer than the Echo also.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,703
    I see.
    Sorry about the confusion. For some reason, his post didn't pop up at the top of my screen yesterday, so I only saw the link and then your response.

    Anyway, no harm no foul. It all makes sense now.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,703
    All I can say is that its a real shame for you. But, if those are the numbers you are working with and you don't want a nicer car, then stick with what you got. I don't believe anybody said diesel was the answer for everyone.

    I fully understand what you are saying, and it makes sense. This is what you have on hand and this is how it works for you. As gagice said, IF you had the option of a diesel in a comparable vehicle, it would inevitably work out to your advantage, but no, i have not yet seen that car in the pipeline with any hard numbers attached to it. I would look for Honda to get you what you need, but since the hard data is not available, we can't discuss it in any practical terms.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 15,167
    Actually as Gagrice continues in a later post, more needs to be said. He has addressed the macro conditions, so I will not retrace his steps. Since I have a car like yours and a diesel, side by side, I see it first hand and can answer whatever questions you might have. In the 54 mile R/T commute, the Honda Civic gets between 36-42 mpg. In the same commute using same driver/s it gets between 48-52 mpg. So the Honda weighs in at 2514#'s and the TDI weighs in at 2950. The Honda is 436 #'s lighter. Or the TDI is 436 heavier. So the easiest equalization would be to do that same commute with 3 more folks in the Honda, and of course have 1 person driving the TDI. If putting together 3 more folks is an issue, then borrow 436#'s of weights and do YOUR commute and see if it still dos 41 mpg. I can tell you the TDI loaded with three people and of course trunk filled to the gills does get better fuel mileage than the Honda Civic, AND it does that at 10-15 mph faster average speeds.

    On the price of diesel front, the price of diesel DOES bounce around. Also the prices do bounce around on the unleaded regular vs diesel

    ..."Last, you could move to San Diego if you get a diesel car. We have ULSD by BP for $2.51 per gallon. That is only 10% more than the cheapest unleaded which is $2.26 per gallon."...

    So sans your new data, but using your 41 mpg the price per mile driven =.0551219 vs diesel (my) 50 mpg= or .0502

    So if you run the math out 250,000 miles you will see the diesel savings is app 1200 dollars over the gasser.So I am sure you can see the tell tale signs why I have a Honda Civic and TDI vs 2 TDI's. My time horizon for the Civic is 250,000 and hopefully more. The time horizon for the TDI is 500,000 miles and hopefully more.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    I was kinda messing with you, hence the :-P in there.

    However, it is all about choice. As a solo commuter, I am not interested in adding 436 pounds to my car - it's always just me in there on the way to work and most of my other errands. I will buy VW's 2100-pound diesel car just as soon as they produce it, which of course they never will, so I will be waiting a long time there. And I live in California, so regardless of the reasons my diesel costs a lot, there is no escaping it for me.

    One thing that is often ignored in diesel conversations is that the automakers that have been expectionally good at offering light cars with small thrifty gas engines over the years are still pretty good at doing that, and you have several choices (mainly Japanese at present - I expect to see the Koreans and Korean-sourced domestics do better in the next few years) that can reach or top 40 mpg in everyday use. Now for trucks and SUVs, I agree without question that more diesels should be offered. As soon as they can get it clean enough, it should go without question that those types of vehicles have a standard or optional diesel engine.

    They do make a diesel version of my car, it just isn't sold here. In Europe, it makes 62 mpg, so you may be onto something as far as the potential for diesel even in my car! :-)

    But I don't expect them to offer cars that slow in the States ever again. Which is a great shame, and a major setback to the quest for better fuel economy in the fleet.

    And then of course, they also have a 1.3L gas version of my car which gets 47 mpg, so they could be doing better in the States even if they didn't offer a diesel here. But that is ALSO a pretty slow car by American standards (rated at 11 seconds 0-60). The problem in the States is everyone thinks they need a race car to drive to work and the grocery store.

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

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,703
    i agree. a common mistake automakers seem to make is that the diesel be as small and underpowered as possible to achieve the best mileage. I think Benz has it right in offering a diesel alternative that is just as fast as the gasser but gets about a third better mileage in the process.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    To me it seems obvious that the European manufacturers like Mercedes and especially VW should take the next step, and offer two different diesels, one super-thrifty and one for performance, and only one gas option.

    But I agree with you - if they are only going to offer one, Mercedes has hit the speet spot with the diesel in the E320.

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

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