|2015 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel. Image courtesy of GM.|
Diesel cars have gained a bad rap in the United States. When most Americans hear the term “diesel powered” they think of large trucks, machinery or heavy duty pickup trucks with plumes of smoke billowing out of their exhaust pipes. They also automatically assume diesels are slow and hard to find fuel for. Recent trends predict a sudden resurgence of diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the US. In fact, you can easily find a fair amount of pre-owned cars that are diesels.
Diesel cars achieve significantly higher fuel mileage. Everyone is looking to get more miles out of their tank of gas, which is fueling the growing number of hybrids on the road. With diesel cars, you can achieve fuel mileage similar to a hybrid’s, but without the worries that come with battery packs. For example, the 2012 VW Jetta with a diesel engine achieves an EPA estimated 42 MPG on the highway.
With newer government regulations, diesel cars no longer pollute like they used to. Diesel cars do not spew huge plumes of black smoke out of their tailpipes, due to a series of special filters required on a diesel powered car’s exhaust system. Modern technology has also developed noise dampeners that make diesel engines not nearly as loud as they used to be. Most diesel cars at cruising speed make about as much noise as a gasoline powered car.
|2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI. Image courtesy of VW.|
While diesel cars get better fuel mileage, they do so without sacrifices to performance. Everyone knows most hybrids are not wonderfully powerful cars. In fact, some call them downright boring to drive. Diesel engines, on the other hand, offer an incredible amount of low-end torque, giving drivers a good burst of power to get them going after coming to a stop. Many modern diesel engines are paired with one or more turbochargers, making them even more powerful and fun to drive.
Diesel cars don’t all come in funky designs. Let’s face it, not everyone drools over the body shape of a Prius. Many hybrid vehicles look strange. Diesel cars look like their gasoline counterparts, meaning you get a high fuel mileage but not the funky looks.
What about concerns that diesel fuel is hard to find? Gas station chains know that diesel is picking up popularity, and they’ve been preparing for the shift. Most gas stations now have at least one fuel pump with a diesel nozzle. In general, the closer a gas station is to a freeway or highway, the more likely it will have multiple diesel pumps.