Buying a Diesel Auto: 8 Facts to Consider

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The 2015 VW diesel Jetta. Via Edmunds.com

Automobiles that run on diesel fuel provide customers with positive fuel economy. At the same time, a diesel engine that saves its owner money through gas expenses has the ability to cost the owner through repairs and maintenance. Like any auto, those that use diesel fuel require a learning curve. Whether or not the consumer believes the proven advantages outweigh the disadvantages will always remain a matter of personal choice. Knowing the facts regarding diesel fuel will give customers a better base to determine their choice.
High MPG Rating Diesel fuel provides customers with an alternative that lasts longer than gasoline on a per gallon basis. Owners enjoy this benefit while driving all sorts of diesel powered auto choices, including both trucks and cars.

  • Comparable Cost to Gas per Gallon: Many consumers have come to understand that diesel fuels no longer fall below gasoline costs. Generally, diesel fuel will cost the same on a per gallon basis when compared to gasoline. This price comparison always differs depending on the stage and time of the economic cycle. In some cases, diesel will actually cost more than some grades of gasoline.
  • Engine Maintenance Differences: A large number of consumers choose diesel powered autos due to their positive fuel economy ratings. Unfortunately, this factor leads the same group to look past the differences in engine maintenance when compared to gasoline engines. The engines found in gasoline powered cars have large differences when compared to diesel powered counterparts.
  • Diesel fuel powers engines with different features and working capabilities: A diesel powered engine has no spark plug connections or engine distributors. This ensures customers that certain engine tune-ups will never need to take place.
  • Slow Burning Power Source: One main factor that leads to the high fuel economy provided by diesel fuel lies within its physical and chemical properties. Diesel fuel has a higher boiling point than both gasoline and water. It takes a longer amount of time to evaporate diesel fuel because of its heavy, oily nature.
  • Availability of Diesel Fuel: Not every gas station offers its consumers with diesel fuel pumps. Many diesel owners find fuel sources in commercial truck stops along expressways. Customers must consider the availability of diesel fuel when considering a diesel car or truck purchase.
  • Diesel Fuel Engine Noise: Diesel fuel powers engines that produce more noise when compared to gasoline cars. The difference stems from the mechanical composition of the engine types and the fuel getting burned through differentiating processes.
  • Diesel Pollution Levels: The burning of diesel fuel causes more visible pollution than gasoline. Burning diesel does in fact produce less carbon emissions when compared to gas, though. These two facts serve as trade-offs to one another, providing customers with a choice regarding their effect on pollution.
  • Lessened Sport Performance: Cars that run on diesel tend to provide their customers with less agility and speedy responsiveness. Instead, diesel fuel increases an automobile’s towing ability and endurance. These factors produce yet another tradeoff for potential customers.

A Diesel Gas Mileage Comparison: 6 Highest Rated Vehicles

When it comes to diesel gas mileage, it blows gasoline engines out of the water. Diesel mileage comparison to that of gasoline is often not even close. Diesel engines get at least 30% to 35% better fuel economy numbers than gasoline engines do. Diesel engine cars are more often found in Europe than the United States because diesel has more emissions (of certain combustion byproducts) when compared to gasoline. Only 42 out of 50 states even allow diesel vehicles due to their emission standards. Many people are starting to choose diesel engines though because it costs nearly the same as gasoline, but it is much more economical. Not to mention, diesel engines are also much quieter than those from years ago, which was a big downside to diesel vehicles. Here are some of the top rated diesel vehicles.

The best diesel truck mileage would probably be the Chevy Silverado Hybrid. It has a heavy duty Duramax diesel engine, and can produce 22 miles per gallon on the highway, and 21 miles per gallon in the city. Diesel pickup mileage is typically much lower than this since their trucks are often heavy and powerful, but the Silverado is a diesel hybrid that allows it to be fuel efficient.

The best diesel mileage is obtained by the Jetta TDI. The Jetta TDI comes as a sedan, as well as a wagon. It gets 40 miles per gallon on the highway, and 31 miles per gallon in the city, for a combined rating of 35 miles per gallon. It is cheap, and offers great fuel economy.

The Golf is also comparable to the TDI. It is more expensive, but offers the same economy numbers. It gets 42 miles per gallon on the highway, and 30 miles per gallon in the city. It is about 25% more efficient than the Golf gasoline engine version.

The BMW 335d is also on the list, but it is far below the Jetta’s mileage mentioned. The 335d gets 36 miles per gallon on the highway, and 23 miles per gallon in the city, for a combined rating of 29 miles per gallon. It is also much more.

The Mercedes E320 Bluetec is another option, and is more expensive than the Jetta and BMW options. It may provide the most luxury, but definitely not the best economy on the list. It can get 32 miles per gallon on the highway, while still getting 23 miles per gallon in the city. Not the best, but still highly respectable, it does carry the high price tag though.

If you are looking for a diesel SUV, you may not have the best selections to choose from. The Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD would be your best option. The Jeep can get 25 miles per gallon on the highway, and 20 miles per gallon in the city, for a combined rating of 22 miles per gallon.

Now that we’ve seen the advantages of Diesel fuel, and some of the cutting edge diesel cars on the market, the need for innovative strategies for creating Diesel fuel from wood and other biomass is all the more apparent. Stay tuned for the final part of this series on Diesel fuel.

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  • Devin Chandler

    Hello Dr. Reed,

    Does diesel produce more visible emissions yet less carbon because the burning of diesel produces more NOx? Or is there more water vapor?