If you were to ask the average driver about diesel, they would wrinkle their noses to indicate a problem with the smell of the fuel and thoughts about the clouds of black smoke that come out the tailpipe of trucks. Against this background, it’s interesting to see GM entering the market with a diesel version of the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze:
Not that this should influence American buyers, but this would not be the reaction in Europe. Whereas only 3.2% of sales to Americans are of diesel models, 51,8% of sales across Europe are for diesel models. That’s a remarkable cultural difference. So what persuades the European that diesel is at least as good if not better than gas for powering vehicles?
Diesel has overcome the initial design problems
When the first engines were designed, they were quickly adopted for commercial use. This reduced to need for the designers to make the engines quiet when running or environmentally friendly. The result was terrific rattling and vibration from the engine which put out sometimes dense black exhaust gases. Now diesel is supplied in an ultra low sulphur form, engines run almost silently and do not blow out smoke.
You get more power from a diesel engine
You may wonder why ships, large agricultural machinery and trucks run on diesel. The answer is operators get more power, e.g. comparing the new Audi TDI models, the 3 liter gas engine produces 325 pound-feet of torque, the diesel 428 pound-feet.
Since 2006, every winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours Race has been powered by diesel.
Diesel vehicles suffer less depreciation
Over 36 months, diesels are worth 63% of their original retail price whereas hybrids are down 55% and gas vehicles 53%. One explanation for this is the law of supply and demand. With fewer diesel vehicles on the market, they hold their prices. They also have superior fuel efficiency. You may have seen Ford was forced to revise their claims for fuel efficiency for the C-Max Hybrid when the EPA completed its tests. There’s now a class action against Ford for misrepresenting the fuel efficiency.
You go further on a gallon of diesel
Diesel cars consistently outperform gas cars. This means big savings when you go to the pumps for a refill. Although a gallon of diesel may cost a few cents more at the pump, you always go further. Here’s an experiment you might not want to do:
As an aside, diesel is sold at most gas stations because it’s the standard fuel for trucks. While you’re waiting for more stations to be built to plug in your electric car, go diesel.
It’s cheaper to buy that a hybrid
If you want to buy an environmentally friendly hybrid or a green electric vehicle, you will have to pay a premium on the retail price. On average, you will pay $4,100 for the privilege of saving the planet. The average premium for diesel models is $2,100.