Author Topic: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?  (Read 9867 times)

kovalchuk71

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Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« on: January 07, 2014, 04:15:41 PM »
I was curious if there is a financial advantage to purchasing a diesel car over a "regular" gas car? Diesel cars get great gas mileage and seem to have a better resale value. The only drawback is the fuel is a bit more. Any science behind this? I currently drive a 2000 C-Class Mercedes already, as the one love in my life is German automobiles and already use premium fuel (well, mid-grade actually).

And of course, I am talking about buying USED. I would NEVER buy used now that I have found this site ;-)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 04:27:03 PM by kovalchuk71 »

Rural

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 05:21:45 PM »
Mileage and longevity of the vehicles are both better. The fuel is considerably more. I'd look into diesel prices and calculate miles per dollar for both types and decide based on that. Also look up prices for parts -- the luxury brands tend to cost more.

amha

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 05:22:31 PM »
One easy thing you can do is to compare the cost/mile.

So, for example, my parents' Jetta TDI (a diesel) gets about 42 mpg highway, and diesel fuel in Upstate New York costs right now about $4.10. By contrast, my Civic gets about 35mpg highway, and cheapest-grade gas is about $3.60/gal here. (Note the mileage numbers are the EPA highway numbers, not my actual experience.)

So, the Jetta can go ~42 highway miles for $4.10, or about $4.10/42 = 9.8 cents/mile.

The Civic, by contrast, costs about $3.60 / 35 = 10.2 cents/mile.

Gas and diesel prices can fluctuate with some independence, but this at least can give you an idea of the relative costs!

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 05:36:47 PM »
I was considering one before I bought my gas jetta, but with the premium cost, it seemed like it wouldn't payback very quickly unless you drive a shitload of miles.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 06:22:07 PM »
I have a 2004 VW Golf TDI with 115K miles on it. Other than scheduled maintenance, I have had very minimal maintenance expenses. I think the only non-scheduled maintenance fix was a mass air flow sensor, and even that was sort of optional. I get an oil change every 6 months in a good year, and once a year in most years now that I'm driving less. I am horrible at car maintenance and this car seems to take it well. I had the timing belt/water pump replaced and it cost around $900. I've replaced one glow plug (did it myself). I've driven over debris on the highway (wooden pallets that fell off a truck), up mountains, on ice, through snow, and it handled everything like a dream.

I had this car when I lived in an area that frequently had sub-zero temps and had no issues starting it up (it was sometimes a hard start, but it always started). The car handles well and is fun to drive. People are often shocked when I tell them we are riding in a diesel car.

I really love this car. I would buy another.

I get about 38-42 mpg city driving. Highway miles are better (don't have an exact number). Mine is a manual, so that probably has an impact.

As far as resale goes, I've had complete strangers knock on my door and offer to buy it from me. I also have two friends who would buy from me if I decide to sell. Having a list of buyers who want to buy your car before you want to sell it is pretty cool.

As far as fuel expenses go - you could always convert it to run on straight vegetable oil. Restaurants are more than eager to get rid of old cooking oil. Free fuel. :) But yes, diesel fuel is more expensive. It costs me $50 to fuel up, and I do it once every 4-6 weeks.

Cons - diesel pumps are always disgusting and you probably will get diesel fuel on your hands. When traveling in unknown areas, you don't want to run low on fuel because not every gas station sells diesel. In certain parts of the country this seems to be a bigger issue than others. I discovered this the hard way.

acroy

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 06:59:48 AM »
The diesel option is tempting but hard to make the math work
The only thing going for it is better mpg
The downsides are higher initial investment, reduced fuel availability, and so forth

The rest of the car will wear out at the same rate! tranny, bearings, water pump, power steering, hvac, ball joints, etc etc.
For most of us it makes no sense.

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 07:43:32 AM »
For us it was worth it.  We have a Jetta TDI and get 38-45 mpg (mostly highway driving).  The purchase price was really cheap on the car and we now have over 300K miles on it with little maintenance.  Diesel fuel is very consistent in price around us and is not too much more per gallon.  It is is significant savings over our old forester we used to drive.

schimt

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2014, 09:35:31 AM »
I made and attached an excel file that has simple calculation that you can play with the variables and see your return on investment.

It does not take into accound varible fuel prices.

One note to add, diesel engines tend to last longer then gasoline engines, which is the reason they hold resale value better, so you might not be as concerned about buying a high mileage diesel.

Anyways, play around with the file if you would like, adjust all the cell's in blue to pertain to your situation and see if it is worth it for you. Best of luck.

ncornilsen

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 10:45:35 AM »
If there were many diesels available made by anyone but VW or Mercedes that were commonplace, I'd say yes. It seems like VW's are problematic (based on how many we saw at the shop I used to work at) and the parts were far more expensive.

So, until GM, Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc start producing cars with diesels, I'd say no.

Spork

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 10:54:04 AM »
If there were many diesels available made by anyone but VW or Mercedes that were commonplace, I'd say yes. It seems like VW's are problematic (based on how many we saw at the shop I used to work at) and the parts were far more expensive.

So, until GM, Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc start producing cars with diesels, I'd say no.

Probably not going to happen.

There are good diesel alternatives already, they just don't sell them here.  That article is a little out of date (as you can tell by the gasoline prices in it).  But the gist of it is that US policies push gas engines.

the fixer

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2014, 11:06:07 AM »
+1 ncornilsen. I strongly considered getting a VW TDI at one point, but the more I read about how to do the maintenance the less interested I got. This is what I learned about the mid-90s Golf TDIs:

Strike 1: to change the oil you need to pump it out through the filler neck. There is no drain plug in the oil pan, so you need a large and expensive piece of specialized equipment to pump the oil out. To make matters worse, the oil filter on the engine sticks straight up under the hood, and you spill oil all over the engine compartment when you remove it.

Strike 2: these cars use timing belts which need replacing every 100k miles. Replacing the timing belt is an extremely complex operation that requires at least two VW-specific tools and requires removing some of the...

Strike 3: torque-to-yield engine mounting bolts! VW used bolts to hold the engine onto the frame that can only be installed once. If you remove one, you have to replace it with a new bolt and tighten it with a torque wrench to the point where the bolt has exceeded its yield strength. For those readers who are not engineers, what is happening is that the bolt becomes more brittle, and less able to absorb a ton of energy without breaking. VW probably did this so the engine falls out of the car and goes under the passenger compartment in a major wreck instead of INTO the passenger compartment. But this, for me, is the last nail in the coffin. Even if you don't do maintenance on the car yourself, you need to get it done by a mechanic you REALLY trust to actually replace those bolts when needed, and to actually use a torque wrench to tighten them.

None of these are problems intrinsic to diesel engines, just to Volkswagen.

Victorious Secret

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2014, 11:26:50 AM »
If you live in the U.S., diesel selection is pitiful compared to what's out there for Europeans.  Renault, Peugout, Audi all have diesel models that get 60-80 mpg.  None of which are legal to drive stateside but it's a no-brainer if you have them available.  As an American I would love to drive a car with such kick-ass gas mileage, but with our relatively low petrol prices it's a trade off.

daverobev

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2014, 12:50:37 PM »
If you live in the U.S., diesel selection is pitiful compared to what's out there for Europeans.  Renault, Peugout, Audi all have diesel models that get 60-80 mpg.  None of which are legal to drive stateside but it's a no-brainer if you have them available.  As an American I would love to drive a car with such kick-ass gas mileage, but with our relatively low petrol prices it's a trade off.

And Ford - 85mpg on the Fiesta. This is imperial not US gallons, but still.

Spork

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2014, 01:05:15 PM »
If you live in the U.S., diesel selection is pitiful compared to what's out there for Europeans.  Renault, Peugout, Audi all have diesel models that get 60-80 mpg.  None of which are legal to drive stateside but it's a no-brainer if you have them available.  As an American I would love to drive a car with such kick-ass gas mileage, but with our relatively low petrol prices it's a trade off.

And Ford - 85mpg on the Fiesta. This is imperial not US gallons, but still.

see linky about 4 posts up.  The technology is/has been there... different governments pushing different agendas.

Cromacster

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2014, 02:26:28 PM »
The 2014 Mazda 6 Diesel is supposed to get 40 55+ and apparently it doesn't require urea/adblue/DEF whatever for emissions.  Which I believe that requirement kicks in this year in the US.  So factor the cost for that when doing ROI on diesels.....well if you dare to buy a new car.

EDIT: Car and Driver reports it gets 40 mpg hwy.  I read some where the 55 mark, but that was almost a year ago....and now I can't find it.  Of course reported MPG's these days are lower than you can actually get if you drive it properly.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 02:32:43 PM by Cromacster »

ysette9

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2014, 10:21:48 AM »
You can clearly do the math for yourself on whether it makes financial sense to buy a diesel over a gas car based on prices in your area and your own mileage. Our latest car purchase was a Golf TDI and I am pretty pleased with it. We set out with the goal of buying one used and quickly discovered that there were NONE to be had in our area. As in, there was a single car meeting our requirements and it was older than we wanted (Consumer Reports reliability was not great for that year). We ended up buying new as a result. I interpreted the lack of used cars for sale as a sign that current owners are not willing to part with cars they love.

For me, I hate taking cars in for maintenance and I ABHOR filling up a tank. It is just one of those things in life like some people hate doing laundry. Having a tank that goes 500+ miles between fill-ups is an absolute blessing. There is no need to worry about diesel availability when you have a 500 mile range. Only having to change the oil once a year is also a blessing. This is clearly a personal preference though and something you may place no value on at all.

andru365

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2014, 11:53:31 AM »
Don't forget the toque!  My little Jetta has a mild tune, and is putting out around 240lb-ft of toque, which makes it a blast to drive around town while still getting 40mpg average.

Sure the modern gas economy cars get comparable mileage, but put around half the torque of a diesel car.

jawisco

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2014, 12:14:07 PM »
I don't think it is worth it.  It used to be when diesel was cheaper, but those days seem to be over.  Sure, the engine last longer, but everything else is pretty much the same and VW's are more expensive to fix.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Is buying a Diesel car worth it?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2014, 12:44:38 PM »
I've had diesels and there not worth anymore unless you need the torque power for pulling in like a heavy duty truck. I believe the price as well is just going to keep going up at higher rate of gasoline because the EPA keeps demanding the sulfer(i beieve its the sulfur) per cubic whatever keeps being reduced. Hence its become less and less a crude oil.

http://nation.time.com/2013/10/29/dirty-diesel-clean-profits/ 
« Last Edit: February 12, 2014, 01:00:41 PM by soccerluvof4 »