About a year ago, I was shopping for a new (used) car. I had my eye on a VW Golf and considered the diesel version, the TDI. I liked the idea of a diesel – lots of low end grunt and terrific fuel economy. Unfortunately, they were hard to find; the ones I did manage to scare up had tons of miles on them. Alas, I took a pass and wound up with a conventional turbocharged gas engine.
I always wondered why are diesels so popular in Europe. They account for as much as 50% of the engine choices in some countries vs. “petrol.”
Believe it or not, emissions standards for diesel fuel are actually tougher here than in Europe. New diesel powered vehicles sold here like the Mercedes with the Bluetec engine deal with this by including a system that injects urea into the exhaust. A diesel engine also adds a few grand to the cost of the car.
Here, diesel fuel costs more than gasoline, so any fuel economy gains may not pay back. GasBuddy listed a station in White Plains, NY was charging $3.99 for regular gasoline and $4.29 for diesel. In Europe, diesel is priced a bit lower than gasoline.
I still think diesels might be a good option compared to a gas hybrid – they’re not as complicated and less costly to maintain. And they run forever. Long-term maintenance issues with hybrids are a scary thought.
Yes, you can get a big truck with a diesel but your choices for a passenger car here are pretty limited to VW, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Why can’t the other manufacturers offer a diesel as a option? Let us know what you think.