Diesel cars are more popular in other countries than in the USA. Rigorous emission tests, higher fuel costs, and loud engine noises have deterred Americans from jumping on the diesel car craze. However, diesel vehicles have continued to thrive and evolve in other places. New diesel engines have less engine noise, lower odor and decreased emissions. This has prompted more manufactures to expand their line of diesel engines into the states. With these new improved cars, does the extra cost of a diesel vehicle pay off?
It is impossible to compare gas and diesel vehicles without looking at the fuel cost. In Europe, gas and diesel cost nearly the same. However, in the USA diesel costs around 30 to 40 cents more a gallon. That is significant. However, diesel engines are 20% more efficient. This means you will not have to fill up your diesel car as often. The point at which these two differences break even depends on how frequently you drive on the highway. For those who drive many miles on the highway, the break-even point comes quickly. This is why truck drivers have long preferred a diesel engine.
Diesel vehicles depend on electronic diesel controls or EDC. The EDC determines precisely how much fuel gets delivered into modern diesel engines. There are no spark plugs or distributors in diesel engines, which means you will never have an ignition-related repair. However, because the engine relies on electronics so heavily, diesel maintenance electronics need to be checked regularly. Also, since not as many mechanics are familiar with diesel engines, and parts are harder to come by, the cost of repairs is higher.
A diesel car costs approximately $2,500 to $4,000 more than a gas-powered vehicle. Diesel engines cost more to build. But, diesel cars also depreciate slower. The resale value of a diesel car is typically 30% to 50% higher and for a diesel truck, that figure jumps to 60% or even 70%. The initial cost may be higher, but that difference is balanced by the fact that diesel vehicles retain more value.
It will cost around 10% to 15% more to insure your diesel vehicle. It costs more to purchase a diesel vehicle, and repair costs are also higher. Those two factors alone make it impossible for insurance to offer competitive rates when compared to gas-powered vehicles. If you are weighing pros and cons, then this is an unfortunate con. Hopefully, as diesel cars gain more popularity, the cost of parts and repairs will come down, prompting a lower insurance premium.