Diesel engines are becoming more popular (in the US) as an option for personal vehicles. A fuel type synonymous with trucks and work vehicles is slowly finding its way into our daily lives. With quieter cleaner engines it’s getting harder to tell if the car you are in or behind has a diesel engine. Why all the buzz? Diesel engines are known for providing better fuel economy than gasoline engines along with fantastic torque. With new emission standards and equipment they have even become cleaner.

If you’re ready to make diesel a part of your life weigh your options first. As attractive as high fuel economy sounds it may bring little to no relief to your wallet.

BMW

335d

The U.S. version of BMW’s 2009 diesel-powered 335d sedan with a 6-speed automatic transmission should achieve EPA fuel-economy estimates of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

265 HP
425 lb-ft torque
Cost: $50,895

BMW 330i

42 mpg hwy / 23.7 mpg city / 32.6 mpg combined
255 HP @
220 lb-ft torque
Cost: $36,500

Looking at two BMW models the gasoline engine is by far the better option. No savings when it comes to intial purchase or fuel costs. Diesel is an average of $1.00 more per gallon as gasloine and the 335d is 14K more than a 330.

When it comes to BMW gasoline wins big!

Mercedes-Benz

mercedes-e320-bluetec

2009 Mercedes Benz E-Class E320 BlueTec DIESEL SEDAN
The 210 hp from the diesel V6 sounds modest, but the 400 lb-ft of torque from 1,600-2,400 rpm is more than enough power. The EPA rates the E320 at 23 city, 32 highway and 26 combined.

mercedes-e320-bluetec1

210 hp
400 lb-ft torque
Cost: $58,345

2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E320

3.0L V6
210 hp
23 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy
Cost: $54,200

With Mercedes-Benz it is the same story. The cost is much closer, however there are no gains in fuel economy.

VW

09jettatdi

The 2009 Jetta TDI gets a 140-hp turbo-diesel (40 more than the previous 1.9-liter engine) with 236 pound-feet of torque (59 more than before). The new engine is clean—enough so that it can be purchased in every state. According to the EPA, the Jetta TDI achieves 29 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway.

09jettatduengine

140 hp
236 lb-ft torque
29 mpg city / 40 mpg hwy
Cost: $22,640

2009 Jetta 2.5

170 hp
177 lb-ft torque
21 mpg city / 29 mpg hwy
Cost: $17,515

Even VW falls short making it worth while to own a diesel.

Where does this leave us? Is diesel an option for US car owners.

-Nick

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