Buying Diesel: What You Should Know

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - May 23, 2016

Most buyers know that diesel-powered vehicles use fuel more efficiently, but that's just part of the story. Below is everything you should consider before making the switch to diesel power:

Miles per gallon

Generally speaking, diesel engines use less fuel than their gasoline counterparts. You'll get more miles of travel out of every gallon and spend less time at the pump.

Cost per gallon

Diesel fuel generally costs the same as gasoline. Yes, there are market fluctuations and regional differences, but over the life of your ownership, the average cost per gallon will be about equal.

Maintenance schedules

Diesel cars and trucks require less regular maintenance. While gasoline vehicles may need oil changes as frequently as every 3,000 miles, service intervals for diesels can reach 10,000 miles. That said, some diesels may require urea to reduce exhaust gas and pollutants. The urea (also known as diesel exhaust fluid) must be replenished at regular maintenance intervals, usually at every oil change. While urea is generally cheap, dealerships may charge a significant amount for this service.

Fuel availability

Just over half of U.S. gas stations offer diesel fuel, including nearly all of the major chains. Although availability can be an issue in certain pockets of country, most drivers can easily find a place to fill up.

Noise and pollution

Diesel engines have comes a long way in recent years and no longer chug and smoke like their ancestors. While they remain chattier than gasoline engines and produce more visible exhaust, these differences are very slight. In fact, modern diesels actually have lower carbon emissions.

Performance

Diesel power enhances a vehicle's towing capability (sometimes dramatically) and provides durable performance over the long haul. The downside is slower acceleration than comparable gasoline vehicles. However, most of today's diesels are turbocharged and peppy enough to satisfy most drivers.

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.