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Old 08-17-2012, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,178,148 times
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For a long time I never considered a diesel vehicle because 87 octane was way cheaper than diesel. Now I'm surprised when I look at gas stations and now diesel is the cheapest gas! But I have never driven a diesel car... How are they different from a regular gas car? Like in winter does the gas gel? I thought truckers leave their trucks running in winter to keep themselves and their gas tanks warm?

So I don't know much about diesel. Just that it's way popular in Europe too and they have very high fuel efficient diesel cars there.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:29 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
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I have seen Diesel cheaper then unleaded in a long time, are you sure you didnt see it wrong?
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:14 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,509 posts, read 54,051,619 times
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This happens every summer. Diesel is from the same oil products as home heating fuel, so in summer no one is buying it. When you go to buy diesel in a cold winter it will most likely be close to double the price it is now.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:31 PM
 
4,426 posts, read 7,117,949 times
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I've owned a Diesel car (Jetta) for 8 years now. Initially, diesel was cheaper (sometimes $0.30~0.40/gallon cheaper) than any gas product through the summer, then in the winter when the heating oil market kicked in, it would be about the same price as mid-grade fuel.

But back in 2006~7 that all changed, diesel prices where higher that winter and never dropped for the summer, then were consistently higher than gas. Granted, it'd take a gas car that could reliably return 43mpg to compete, even with the prices upside down. It's been like that until this year. Today I just saw Diesel prices lower than premium and mid-grade, but not lower than low-grade, here in Georgia. It was a shock, but I checked it at every station that listed all the prices and it was consistent. Mind you, the price is up ~$0.20/gallon over what it was just a couple weeks ago, but it's nice to see it back down with the rest of the fuel prices. I have NEVER seen Diesel prices more than $0.40 over premium though, not once in any location through the ~180,000 miles we've driven the car.

A diesel car is the same to drive as a gas one. Diesel doesn't gel so long as A) you're buying a winter mix when temps stay below 0F for a sustained time (only happens in the spring/fall when there's a freak cold snap and the fuel is a summer blend) and B) you add an anti-gel agent to the fuel when filling up (DieselKleen). Even living in Wyoming for 3 years (and the Rockies for 6), I never saw an issue with gelling. Diesel can be hard to Start when it's cold too though, but a block/coolant heater is cheap, easy to use and completely resolves that issue with only 1~2 hours being plugged in. Past that, it's like driving a gas engine truck when it comes to the RPMs, which are down around 2~3k, tons of torque, and 50mpg. Well, at least for my Jetta.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,662 posts, read 26,208,561 times
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Usually diesel gets twice the mileage. Engines last longer. Diesel prices do not go up and down with gas or as quickly usually.
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:25 AM
 
645 posts, read 1,099,894 times
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Diesel always used to be cheaper than gasoline. It was that way until the past decade.

As a boy, I used to ride to the gas station to fill the tires on my bike. The diesel pump was off in the corner by the air pump. Gasoline was 55 cents a gallon and diesel as 25.

Throughout the late 80s and most of the 90s, Diesel was 10 - 20 cents per gallon cheaper than gasoline. This was a time when gasoline was roughly 1.00 - 1.10 a gallon. After the late 90s, I stopped keeping track because by then the factory where I worked closed, and I could no longer afford 1 ton Ford 4x4s. There were no emissions whatsoever on a diesel back then, so one could run heating oil in them, illegally, but it wasn't a big deal because that's what I did. I drove my 1 ton Ford, jacked up with 35" tires 42 miles per dollar of fuel. I got about 20 mpg out of my truck. Heating oil was 55 - 75 cents a gallon during the mid 80s through mid 90s.

I do know I was shocked just a few years ago when I saw how diesel was some 25 - 50 cents a gallon more. I'm sorry I can't help you with why it's dropped lower recently, I just thought you might enjoy how much cheaper diesel was than gas back in the day.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:33 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,389 posts, read 39,704,721 times
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When did diesel start being cheaper than 87 octane?

bout a hundred yrs ago.... It is a lessor refined product, w. higher BTU.

Recenty EXTRA US fuel taxes for diesel to punish trucks / shipping (varies by state) and WORLD demand for diesel (much higher per capita use in most other countries), USLD's need for higher quality feedstocks, and some cold winters can really drive the price of diesel.

Thus, you really want to be a HOME brewer
Appleseed Processor Kit - Utah Biodiesel Supply

Algae based diesel fuel is coming. AND many other alternatives to burn.

Diesels are fine in any weather, just need to be careful, and realize they don't have Spark plugs (ick). Compression and fuel = ignition. Thus a fresh batterie and a hair dryer can get you fired up.

Diesel fuel in USA markets has cold weather additives, BUT you always want to run a fuel conditioner anyway (as lubricity that USLD took out. +can help prevent gel / crystaline. You always want to keep the tank filled up, as diesel (and Biodiesel) takes on water / condensation.

Diesel driving = low end torque (but pretty flat on top end) They are a blast to drive / make into sports cars. I recommend making a GTD (turbo diesel GTI available in most parts of the world EXCEPT USA and Canada). Very EZ to make one, and pretty cheap too...

50 mpg since 1976, no Dinosaurs or OPEC required
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 88,986,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
When did diesel start being cheaper than 87 octane?
When drought started leading to crop failure which started driving up the price of corn products such as ethanol used in our gasoline supply. Because of the ethanol mandate, ethanol production is consuming roughly 40% of this year's paltry corn crop.

We have an astonishingly stupid relationship between energy and agriculture policy in this country.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:24 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,182,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferretkona View Post
Usually diesel gets twice the mileage. Engines last longer. Diesel prices do not go up and down with gas or as quickly usually.
What diesel gets "twice the mileage" on a comparable car for car basis? None that I've seen in over 40 years of working on diesel cars. As much as I like driving my diesel M-B's, Peugeots, Audi's ... which got fuel economy into the high 20's to high 40's mpg ... none of them got "twice the mileage". Diesel fuel has an advantage in energy per gallon of fuel, but it's not double, more like 15% that of gasoline.

The advantage of driving a diesel for fuel economy was the disparity of the price of the fuel when diesel fuel was a by-product of gasoline production and the refineries had to encourage the consumption of the fuel. With the spec for low-sulfur diesel coming into play, diesel fuel production cost went up, which gets passed onto the consumer. As well, the efforts to promote diesel fuel consumption were successful to the extent that gasoline is either on par with diesel or gasoline is a by-product of diesel production. The entire transportation industry runs on diesel ... semi's, inter-city and in city trucks, railroad, and marine transportation. As well, most of the agricultural/construction industries.

I don't know your marketplace, but I sure know my regional marketplace. The disparity at the pump where diesel is substantially more than gasoline forced me to sell off all but one of my diesel cars in favor of driving gasoline powered cars. Parity would be at a 15% increase in fuel economy with the diesel, and the cost differential is much more than that. We see diesel consistently at the price point or higher; typical of the last year is to see diesel cost at 40-60 cents per gallon higher. Fleet buyers who can lock in large purchase contracts will get a better price; a neighbor took delivery of 8,000 gallons of #2 at $3.43 yesterday while the pump price is running $3.97-3.99 around here, with a few stations at $4.07. The price jumped 30 cents per gallon in the space of 5 days last week while gasoline went up around 20 cents per gallon in the same time frame.

Considering that most of our refined petroleum product is local domestic or Canadian crude feedstock, locally refined, we have a wildly fluctuating marketplace in the Rocky Mountain area. It appears to have been greatly influenced by market forces outside our area; in this most recent case, I believe that it's due to the California/West coast market where a major refinery went off-line a week or so ago and created a shortage of fuel in that area.

It's not unusual for me to travel 40,000+ miles per year, so I've been very sensitive to the costs of operating my vehicles for a long time. While I drove MB 220 & 240 D's for many years, then 300Dturbo's ... I could buy these vehicles so inexpensively and keep them on the road for minimal expense ... I could not justify the much higher cost to acquire a newer Jetta with better fuel economy. A Bluetec MB would be nice, but the acquisition cost destroys the overall economics of driving one. My solution was to find 504D's, then 505Dturbo's, which could get around 40 mpg. My last 505Dturbo would routinely get 46-48 mpg, but a customer needed it more than I did and so it went away for a substantial profit and I was onto the next Audi then.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 13,044,988 times
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You have gotten some very good answers.
I'll add a few comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
For a long time I never considered a diesel vehicle because 87 octane was way cheaper than diesel.
Yes, 87 octane may be cheaper but diesel fuel has more BTU's.
It holds more power per gallon, this = more millage.
so it is a better buy.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
Now I'm surprised when I look at gas stations and now diesel is the cheapest gas! But I have never driven a diesel car... How are they different from a regular gas car? Like in winter does the gas gel? I thought truckers leave their trucks running in winter to keep themselves and their gas tanks warm?
We don't call diesel fuel gas, well, because it isn't.
We call it fuel or diesel.
Gas can have water in it that freezes, so can diesel, untreated diesel can gel at temps below 20F. In the fall stations start to receive winterized fuel, so an additive is not needed in the winter.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
So I don't know much about diesel. Just that it's way popular in Europe too and they have very high fuel efficient diesel cars there.
Yes they do and we could too but the EPA has put strict emission laws on diesels and they are expensive, driving up the cost of the vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
When drought started leading to crop failure which started driving up the price of corn products such as ethanol used in our gasoline supply. Because of the ethanol mandate, ethanol production is consuming roughly 40% of this year's paltry corn crop.

We have an astonishingly stupid relationship between energy and agriculture policy in this country.
I agree and it will hit diesel fuel also as many states mandate that all diesel fuel will have 5% to %20 bio in it.

stealth rabbit, hit on the ulsd fuel, "ultra low sulfur diesel" this coupled with higher tax rate drove up the price of diesel.
Nos Gasoline has to be ulsg, this has also increased the price for gas this fall as the regulation went into effect this summer.
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