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Old 03-17-2010, 04:28 PM
Location: Dallas, TX
4,464 posts, read 9,653,937 times
Reputation: 2819


The OP said they wouldn't keep the car forever though.

Most people who buy new cars have them for 1-5 years.

An example of good use of a diesel is a friend of mine, he drives a 1.6L diesel powered Volvo V50, does about 15.000 miles a year, and saves A LOT of money, by driving a diesel.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:30 PM
Location: The Lakes
2,372 posts, read 4,334,599 times
Reputation: 1129
I'm fine with my Chevy Cavalier. It's been all over the country, 9 years old now, with regular maintenance and driving it like a bat out of hell, I've only spent about 700$ total on it including suspension and fuel pump.

...and I didn't do the labor on either of those jobs.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:40 PM
Location: NYC & NJ
747 posts, read 2,213,908 times
Reputation: 326
Originally Posted by UKUKUK View Post
Because there's lower demand. It's actually CHEAPER to refine diesel.
Higher demand would make diesel prices higher. That's just simple economics. And don't assume demand is low. There's plenty of demand for diesel from commercial transportation.

One of the main reasons for the high (relative to gasoline) price of diesel in the US is our limited diesel refining capacity.

Also, the body of all those 300-500k+ mile Merc 300TDs have faired well around here
Those were the W123 and W126 body Mercs, commonly referred to as the last "bulletproof" ones before quality started sliding. VWs have never been as reliable as those golden-era Mercedes, not to mention those were much simpler cars in the sense that there were fewer electronics, wiring, sensors, etc.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:46 PM
48,519 posts, read 81,177,591 times
Reputation: 17979
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
If you want to take the emotion out of the argument, work up a spreadsheet and compare the cost of owning a few different cars.

One of the things not appreciated by many is that in terms of actual fuel consumed, a car that gets 45 MPG is not much cheaper to run than one that gets 40 MPG.

12000 miles divided by 40 = 300 gals
12000 miles divided by 45 = 267 gals

The difference is just $92 per year at $2.75 per gallon. Over five years the difference is just $458.

If it costs you more than $92 to get that extra 5 MPG then you are wasting money.

The difference between 15 MPG and 20 MPG on the other hand is significant because so much more fuel is involved.

You need to alos look at the cost as diesel is higher than gasoline plus the maintenance is more costly. Diesel here makes more sense if you actually need the pulling power more really. The main object I have is the smell they out out and the nise in comparison to the gas engines. It tales more than just milege to conpare.Also many palces do not have diesel because its not popular enough in this country and those that do likely have one pumps unless its a truck stop.
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Old 03-17-2010, 04:50 PM
Location: NYC & NJ
747 posts, read 2,213,908 times
Reputation: 326
Originally Posted by spritle View Post
please excuse my ignorance. i know nothing about cars. but we are in the market for a new one and my husband is looking for good mpg. we have been looking at the golf tdi or jetta wagon tdi. but i have been reading that unless you keep your car for many years, a diesel may not be the most economical vehicle to purchase. i am not sure why i should spend a few thousand more on a diesel when we only keep our cars for 5 or 6 years. can someone break this down for me (in small words, lol).
It shouldn't be that hard to run the numbers, as Hoffdano suggested. Depending on how much you drive, it will cost you __ in fuel per yr and your upfront (purchase) price is __ for:

Golf TDi
Golf (gasoline engine)
Another gasoline-engined car with a lower purchase price, e.g. Honda Fit, Scion Xb, etc.

You can also play around w/ Edmunds' "True Cost to Own" calculator:
True Cost to Own ratings at Edmunds
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:11 PM
Location: U.S.A.
3,306 posts, read 9,038,410 times
Reputation: 2919
I bought a Cummins 12v equipped Dodge last year and I love it to death. This monstrous truck that everyone thinks guzzles "gas" in reality merely sips diesel. On a mostly city driven tank I can't do worse than 17mpg and thats really romping on it, on the highway I get around 25+mpg. Not only that but I also run the engine on 100% vegetable oil with the only modification being plumbing for the aux. tank.

Equivalent gasser trucks on a really good day do 14 or 15mpg.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:26 PM
10,875 posts, read 41,255,635 times
Reputation: 14039
Having been in the diesel car game since the late 1960's, when we saw diesel fuel priced much lower than gasoline ... there were economic advantages to driving a diesel car IF you drove a lot of miles and held on to the car for a long time, say 15-20 (or more) years.

However, with the disparity in cost per gallon now, where diesel fuel is higher than gasoline, the economics (acquisition cost + maintenance expenses) don't work out UNLESS you drive a lot of highway miles each year and plan of keeping the car for a long time. Maintenance costs on the diesel per service are a lot more than on a gasoline powered car. Some of the costs will be offset by the typically lower wear on tires and brakes and rotating equipment (the diesel motors typically run at lower RPM's, so the belts wear more slowly and the engine braking helps to slow the cars down ... while they do not accelerate as rapidly as a comparable gasoline powered car).

I like driving diesel cars, especially in adverse weather conditions. The torque curves are more linear and with a manual transmission car, you can use the engine braking to a decided advantage in slick conditions.

Keep in mind that the diesel isn't "happy" until it's warmed up to normal engine temperature, where it achieves it's best engine combustion efficiency. If you live in a cold climate, you need to consider how far the car must be driven to bring it up to temperature, so if your average trip cycles are not very far, you may negate the advantages of fuel economy as well as engine longevity.

All of my pick-up trucks and heavy farm tractors are diesels, and I wouldn't consider anything else for the tasks. My over the road traveling car is a 1982 300Dturbo (123 chassis) MB with over 300,000 miles ... the third of these I've owned ... and it's still a pleasure to drive for long trips. However, it's long ago reached an age where it takes a competent tech to work on it (that's me, with over 40 years in the biz) and it has the historical niggling failure items common to these cars ... climate & cruise control, central locking, window switches, that can "nickle and dime" an average owner to death on one of these. But even with a 65 mile round trip to town for shopping, I can't justify driving this car on that short of a trip anymore with the disparity in fuel costs. I can drive my Subaru wagons for less fuel cost for that trip.

OP, you need to accurately assess your driving use cycles and the intended life of the car in your ownership. If you don't plan on keeping the car for the proverbial 250,000+ miles (or more) and many years of service, I think you'll find that it won't pencil out. You may be better served and money ahead by chosing the gasoline powered version of the car you like. Then again ... it's your dough and if you focus solely on the idea of the best fuel economy in the marketplace today, a diesel may make sense for you.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:29 PM
232 posts, read 497,214 times
Reputation: 293
I was/am considering buying a big SUV. There are diesel versions, but it is very difficult to attain a diesel version in the USA because we are so free and stuff. I figured it out using reported averages of owners from forums I read and EPA. I used the average nationwide prices for the cheapest gas and diesel at the time.

I worked it out for 1000 miles of travel and came out with $60 more dollars for a gasoline SUV to travel that 1000 miles then the diesel. The diesel price difference is pretty huge for this SUV though.....like $7k+ huge, so it would take about 500k miles of driving before the diesel paid off for the $7K of extra initial cost to own. Either gas or diesel engine will last a long time if taken cared of as it is geared like a tractor for the most part and doesn't go much over 2500rpm even for the gas engine. I'd like to own the vehicle for a very long time and parts for the diesel in the USA is already hard to get and approaching double the price of the comparable gas engine part. I can get rebuilt gas engines for this SUV easily at @ $3500. With great difficulty, I can get a lesser rebuilt diesel engine for over $6k.....that's an assuming I can get it.

Honestly, at first I was really worried about going with the gasser that got @15 MPG then the diesel that can get @25mpg, but thinking it out, the diesels cost to own is not much less. I just gotta consider that when I buy the gas version, I also have an extra $5k to $7k dollars for getting fuel because of the money I saved. The extra savings in MPG from the diesel motor should not be taken into consideration until it has paid for the extra cost to purchase and in my case it'd be around 500,000+ miles before that happens and probably at least 200,000 for most comparisons.

However, what I really like about the diesel and the better MPG is that it has much higher range. This is a non-factor if you stay on paved roads where you'll see a gas station every 200 to 300 miles, but if you wanted to go on expeidition type drives, it's a main concern and I think the diesel would be a must have.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:35 PM
Location: The land of Chicago
867 posts, read 1,794,250 times
Reputation: 1121
drive both of them and pick
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Old 03-18-2010, 07:34 AM
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
8,293 posts, read 22,498,095 times
Reputation: 3869
What Sunspirit said is absolutely spot on - and spoken from years of experience with diesels.

Read it carefully.
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