Americans march to a different tune than the rest of the world when it comes to their preferences in cars. They lean to gasoline engines as the standard in everything else is an exception. While hatchbacks and manual transmissions are popular worldwide, they are a rare sight in America. Americans stay away from diesel cars too (usually because of their smoke and general racket). The size of the US diesel automobile market reflects the distaste people have for the fuel – it is a mere 3% of all car sales. Today, though, there are signs of coming change.
Modern diesel cars are cheaper to run and good to drive
There are two reasons why Americans are more open to buying diesel now than before. First, there are new fuel efficiency standards that come into effect in the year 2016. Car manufacturers need a way to improve the fuel efficiency of their product lines by 30% to reach the mandated 35.5 mpg by then. Since diesel is a more powerful fuel than gasoline (a gallon delivers 145,000 BTUs of energy as compared to the 120,000 BTUs present in a gallon of gasoline), it makes it easier for manufacturers to deliver better fuel efficiency. Car buyers will feel better considering diesel models when the car manufacturers offer a wide range for them to choose from.
Even current diesel cars available today are more fuel-efficient than comparably priced gasoline models. Consumers are beginning to notice that by buying diesel, they get to save on fuel costs without downsizing their cars. They need to do this sometimes when they choose hybrid cars.
Today’s modern diesel cars are also more refined than earlier models. Running on a new refined fuel called Clean Diesel, they are no longer noisy or sooty like old diesels used to be.
You get more when you sell
Unless you like to run your cars into the ground, the potential resale value of a car should be a factor in your buying decision. The average used diesel car always fetches more on the used market than a comparable gasoline-powered car. The reason for this is that diesel engines are built tougher.
Buying diesel makes sense when you need power
Car reviewers often praise or pan cars over the torque they deliver. An engine with higher torque gives you more brute power (as opposed to speed). This is why trucks and boats usually burn diesel. A torquey engine can make a car a pleasure to drive too. Many car buyers like this.
What you choose can be a matter of personal preference. Gas engines are known for their accelerating power. Diesels are great with heavy loads.
Diesels are well-known for needing more short-term maintenance than gasoline engines. They need frequent engine oil changes and they need to have their water separators and filters serviced often. Gasoline engines only need to be serviced once a year.
When you consider long-term maintenance costs, diesel engines tend to shine for their durability. Gasoline engines operate at high speeds and wear out more quickly than diesels. They need to be torn down and rebuilt after only 125,000 miles for this reason. Diesels can go 400,000 miles before needing that level of service.
If you haven’t driven a modern diesel car, you should try one out. The test drive will likely calm your fears of a difficult and unpleasant driving experience. Buying diesel makes better financial sense over the long run. If you are someone who never plans to keep a car past 100,000 miles, though, gasoline cars are more sensible. Their lower upfront cost can be hard to argue with.