Top 8 Reasons to Choose a Diesel Car in 2019
Most people don’t realize just how popular diesel cars are in other parts of the world. In Europe, fully 50% of all new cars sold each year run on diesel. Meanwhile, here in the United States that figure is a tiny 3%. There are lots of reasons why diesel has yet to catch on in the USA, but a shift is beginning to take place. Yes, those Europeans are onto something! In this article you’ll discover 8 reasons why you should choose diesel if you’re going to buy a car in 2019.
Reason #1: Incredible Fuel Economy when You Choose Diesel
Those of you who were driving twenty or thirty years ago might remember when diesel fuel used to cost less than gasoline. These days, diesel costs more than regular gasoline and tends to be more on par with premium gasoline prices. But get a load of this: Your fuel economy in a diesel is on average as much as 33% higher than its gasoline counterpart. The difference can vary quite a bit depending on the make and model of the car, so be sure to look at figures for the specific vehicles that interest you. Why is a diesel engine so much more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine? Without getting into too detailed, it has to do mostly with differences between the two fuels:
- Diesel has a much lower evaporation point than gasoline. Regular gas evaporates at room temperature.
- Diesel is combustible whereas gas is a flammable liquid. All gas needs is a spark to act as fuel, whereas diesel requires both compression and heat to function.
- The power generated by the combustion of diesel is much greater than that of gasoline because diesel is denser – this makes diesel much more efficient than gasoline.
With that said, diesel’s fuel economy shines best with highway driving rather than urban short-trip driving. Most hybrids, on the other hand are the exact opposite, utilizing the power generation from braking in around-town driving to maintain battery power. This is why diesel fuel economy on highway driving can even beat many hybrids.
Reason #2: Better Resale Value When You Choose Diesel
If you’ve ever looked at the up-front price tags on diesel cars, then you also know they’re higher than gas cars, often by at least several thousand dollars. Seems like you’d have to drive the car a long time to make that up through fuel economy, right? But that’s the wrong way to think about it. Most people don’t hang onto cars until the bitter end of their useful life, and the good news is that diesel cars hold their resale value much better than their gasoline siblings. Diesel vehicles experience less depreciation, which can make them especially attractive as lease options.
Reason #3: Lower Overall Cost of Ownership When You Choose Diesel
Even though a diesel car comes with a higher price tag and even though diesel fuel is more expensive than regular gasoline, the better fuel economy and better resale value when it’s time to sell it make for a truly winning combination. Specifically, diesel vehicles offer a significantly lower total cost of ownership over five years and 75,000 miles of driving. Total cost of ownership accounts for depreciation, fuel, repairs, fees and taxes, maintenance, and insurance. A study back in 2015 at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute “found that based on fuel costs, resale value and operating costs, diesel vehicles saved owners as much as $2,000 to $6,000 in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) during a three to five year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles (source).
Reason #4: Diesel Vehicles are Way Better Now than they Used to be
Think about what diesel cars used to be like back in the 1970s and 1980s. They were considered dirty black-smoke-belching monsters no one wanted to be around, let alone drive. But there have been vast improvements to diesel vehicles over the last couple of decades such that you wouldn’t notice many differences at all between a diesel and gas version of the same car, except better fuel economy and more torque with the diesel (more on that later). If you haven’t checked out diesel vehicles in a long time, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised at what’s available these days. In short, they are no longer the loud, smelly, slow diesels of yesteryear.
Reason #5: Diesel Engines Last a Lot Longer than Gas Engines
You can generally expect to run a gasoline engine for 200,000 miles over its life on average, but a diesel can generally be expected to run for 350,000 miles over its life, which again varies widely by make and model. Why such a big difference between the two engines? A diesel engine operates through direct fuel injection, meaning the fuel goes right into the cylinders, and those cylinders are specifically designed to withstand a lot of pressure and heat. There are no spark plugs used in a diesel engine, which is what gasoline engines require to operate. A gasoline engine adds air to the fuel, then compresses the fuel in the piston and ignites by the spark plugs. In a diesel engine, the air is first compressed because this heats the air up enough for the fuel to ignite when it is injected into the piston.
The downside of the diesel engine is that because it relies on temperature rather than spark to ignite the fuel, they can have more trouble getting started in cold temperatures, which is why “glow” plugs are sometimes added in to help raise the temperature to lead to combustion in cold weather. Because diesel fuel is actually a light oil, it automatically lubricates engine parts as it is used, resulting in a longer life. Gasoline, by contrast, acts more like a detergent or solvent that washes oil away, resulting in more wear and tear on the engine.
Reason #6: A Diesel Car Has More Torque
To be more technically correct, a gasoline-powered engine has higher horsepower and faster top speeds, but a diesel engine produces more torque. Torque can be loosely defined as the twisting force needed to rotate something. In the case of cars that translates to the crankshaft and rotating of the wheels. Because higher compression is involved in a diesel engine, more twisting force is exerted on the crankshaft. It also helps that diesel fuel contains more energy than gasoline, on average 147,000 BTUs per gallon of diesel versus 125,000 BTUs for a gallon of regular gasoline. Diesels also have a longer piston stroke length in order to get higher air compression, and since torque consists of force times distance, that longer stroke length produces more torque. What that feels like when you’re driving is more “power” at lower speeds in a diesel. Or if you’re driving up a steep hill and a lot of torque, you’ll still be able to accelerate with a diesel engine whereas it will be much harder to do so with a gasoline engine, and especially in a higher gear. The higher torque of a diesel engine can give you the rush of faster initial acceleration. If you like the feeling of being pushed back into your seat out of the starting gate, the torque of a diesel engine can give you that feeling pretty easily.
Reason #7: Diesel Fuel Can be Better for the Environment
Environmental regulators tend to go back and forth over the question of whether diesel is better than gasoline when it comes to environmental impact in the form of exhaust emissions. Diesel engines produce dirtier emissions than gasoline engines, but many believe their greater fuel economy offsets those emissions. If you go back a couple decades, diesel was touted as better for the environment because it had significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline. But improvements to gasoline have reduced that difference. Diesel does, however tend to emit less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide than gasoline.
Meanwhile, diesel fuel does emit more of other kinds of pollution, including nitrous oxides and particulates that have a more direct impact on human health. And it’s that particulate pollution (soot) that gave diesel such a bad name back in the 1970s. But just like gasoline, big improvements have been made in diesel so that it burns a lot cleaner than it did in those days. It’s also worth noting that producing diesel fuel requires a lot less intensive refining than gasoline, which means the energy cost of producing diesel is a lot less than gasoline. In the final analysis, diesel makes less of a contribution to global warming and climate change than gasoline, but probably has a higher negative impact on ground-level air quality than gasoline depending on what pollution-reduction technologies have been included. In both cases, newer models are better than older models.
Reason #8: You Have Fuel Flexibility Options
One of the other big advantages of a diesel vehicle for the eco-conscious crowd is how easy it can be to switch from regular diesel fuel to something eco-friendlier. “Diesel engines were originally invented to run on vegetable oils. Today, most diesel engines can run on high-quality blends of biodiesel with little modification as well as next-generation, drop-in renewable diesel fuels which offer even further benefits. This flexibility of the diesel platform can accelerate the introduction of these renewable diesel fuels across the economy.
If you’d like to choose diesel for your next car, be sure to check out the Auto City inventory page for the latest listing of vehicles we have available. On the left side of the page are various filters you can use to refine your search, including by fuel type, where one of your choices is diesel. Or you can just click on this link to get a page with all our diesel vehicles listed. But besides our superior selection of vehicles, Auto City has no-haggle firm up-front pricing, a 3-day money-back guarantee, financing for all, and rave reviews from thousands of happy customers. If you’re in the greater San Diego area, come discover the Auto City Advantage in El Cajon!