We’ve all been subject to the whims of unstable gas prices for years. They go up, down, and back up, with no discernible reasons why. Dissatisfaction with gas prices have led motorist to fight back by looking increasingly at buying cars that get excellent mileage.
This includes considering hybrid models as well. But are car buyers missing another equally efficient way to power their cars without performance loss?
European automakers think so. They believe Americans will shift in greater numbers to diesel vehicles in the near future, and for three important reasons.
Diesel Fuel is Affordable
With all the talk about the cost of gasoline, the news media fail to talk about the declining price of diesel fuel. Today the price of diesel is lower than regular gasoline, or equal in price. However, diesel is much richer in energy. For example, the new model BMW 328d (d for diesel) gets more miles per gallon on diesel fuel, than the compact, small engine, gasoline fueled Smart Fortwo Coupe. Moreover, the BMW generates 180 HP, while the Smart struggles to produce 70 HP. Visits to the gas station are less frequent or as often as if you owned a hybrid.
Diesel Technology Runs Cars Clean and Quiet
New diesel technology makes cars run quieter and cleaner. Part of the reason for these improvements are the federal mandates to transition to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and to install better emissions control equipment like diesel particulate filters. No more do you see a con trail of black smoke from the exhaust of a diesel car.
Diesel Cars Have Higher Resale
Diesel cars are a great investment. If you buy a Volkswagen Beetle DTI (diesel fueled) and not a gas-powered Beetle, after three years the diesel model will return 63 percent of their original cost. If it were a gas-fueled Beetle, the return is lower - about 53 percent. How long this differential exists is a function of the car market. Presently, diesel cars of all sizes get a premium on resale because they are relatively scarce.
An anecdotal reason to consider a diesel-powered car is the example of the German people. Germany has those wonderful Autobahns, is renowned for performance cars, and loves excellent engineering. In 2011, 41.9 percent of all cars sold in Germany were diesels. Auto manufacturers are thinking that if the German public are going diesel, Americans will follow.
This post was published on July 21, 2014 and was updated on January 22, 2016.