Diesl V gas


Looking at a new car, I drive about 220 miles a day. Any thoughts on what would be better, Something Like a Jetta TDI or a gas powered car


I would guess you are trying to save money. The question is what kind of driving are you doing. 220 miles of city driving would be a good candidate for a hybride while highway driving would tend to push it towards a diesel.

I drive a diesel VW and I like it.

Both diesels and gasoline cars are very good.


If that is mostly highway, at 220 miles per day, the Jetta TDI could easily save you up to 5, maybe 6, gallon of fuel per day. That is easily $62/week in fuel cost savings at $2.50/gallon.

And, of course, how you drive will greatly influence your savings regardless of your vehicle/fuel choice.

The diesel Jetta should cost about $1,300 more than than a comparably equiped gasoline Jetta.

The other alternatives are hybrids like the Civic, new Insight, Prius, Fusion/Milan.

But so could a 45 mpg highway '95 Civic CX 2 dr HB.

Some folks in my area are refurbishing fuel frugal (38-45 mpg combined average) '87 to '95 Honda Civic 2 door HBs for $1~4k as “commuters”. Check Advanced Search on www.fueleconomy.gov for fuel economies.

It is your ride, your money, and your decision … based on YOUR finances/needs/wants.


Wow, 220 miles/day = about 50,000 miles per year. Me, I’d be looking at cars with better than 35 mpg highway, including the TDI, Prius, Civic, maybe Corolla. I wouldn’t go for a smaller car unless it was very comfortable for long highway drives.

Go to the EPA’s fuel economy web site, use the ‘advanced search’ feature, and you can find all the cars that meet your own requirements.


Although I would be tempted to get a diesel if I were in your situation, you have to consider that diesel cars really haven’t reached the same level of reliability and refinement that you find with cars like the Civic and the Corolla.

With that many miles, you would be a good candidate for a hybrid. Most of us don’t put enough miles on a car to justify the extra expense of a hybrid. You, on the other hand, are quite likely to recover the extra money spent on a hybrid in fuel savings.

Test drive the Prius, the Insight, and maybe the Civic hybrid and let us know what you think.


Consider what happened last year when gasoline was $4 and Diesel was $5. That will happen again before your new Jetta TDI is paid for. Then drive one for an hour, then decide if it’s right for you…


Let’s say it’s all highway mileage and you compare the 5-cyl Jetta (regular) to the TDI. Diesel is about $2.59 per gallon and regular is about $2.49 per gallon near me. The annual savings is about $1000 for the TDI in fuel. If you look up the true cost to own at Edmunds.com, it shows the estimated cost savings for fuel, maintenance and repairs at $3100 for the first 5 years of ownership, if the mileage is adjusted from 15,000 to 50,000. Of course, you also get a $1200 tax credit for buying the diesel. Even with the initial premium of $1000 or so for the TDI, it still looks like a good choice for you.


Diesel cars are just as reliable as gasoline cars if not more so. The trouble is that the only companies that sell them here are VW and Mercedes-Benz which are both generally mediocre reliability-wise these days.


BMW also markets diesels in the US.


A diesel is not a bad idea, but unfortunately the selection in the US is VERY LIMITED!

Ford/Volvo, “old” GM/Opel/Vauxhall, and Chrysler/Fiat currently produce more than 110 passenger vehicle configurations currently rated between 42 and 64 mpg(US) combined cycle [greater than 51 mpg(Imperial) combined cycle] in Europe.

There is also a similar set of light ?commercial? vehicles (pickups, 4X4s, and vans) in the 25 to 55 mpg(US) combined cycle [greater than 30 mpg(Imperial) combined cycle] range.

Some are gasoline but most are small displacement (2.2 liters or less) turbo diesels.

Some passenger vehicles are above 3,700 pounds curb weight with above 44 mpg(US) combined fuel economies and the ability to tow up to 2 tons.

The Ford Transit can be configured for about 7.3k pound GVW with a fuel economy of 28 mpg(US) combined. And, if you will give up some GVW, it can achieve 39 mpg(US) combined while handling 300 cubic feet of cargo . There is also the Fiesta van rated up to about 45/55/65 mpg(US) city/combined/highway with a GVW of 3,400 pounds and priced around USD $17.7k in the UK.

Many believe that diesels are relatively noisy based on their esperience with domestically built diesels. However, Ford’s EU diesels are often rated as quiet as the Prius when operating with the ICE. These small displacement EU diesels are TOTALLY different. And they have been in volume (about 50% of all sales) production for about 8 to 10 years.




By the way, according to “Advanced Search” on www.fueleconomy.gov, for 2009 PLUS 2010, there are only 5 vehicles in the US rated above 35/40 mpg(US) city/highway. Unfortunately NONE are from Detroit … not surprising though.


Just remember the Euro mpg ratings are quite a bit higher than the EPA ratings for the same vehicle because of differences in how the tests are run and how the results are adjusted. For example, the Prius is rated about 20% higher in the EU ratings.


That’s my point. If my choice was between a VW, BMW, or Mercedes diesel and a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, and I wanted a reliable vehicle on which I would be putting 220 miles a day, the only available diesels would not compare.

I don’t really see the point in comparing gas burners to diesels that aren’t available in this country.


I like the VW diesels but I’d recommend a Honda Civic. I’d also get the Civic with a manual transmission. The fuel economy ratings for auto vs manual are the same, and even favor the auto slightly but the manual is less maintenance and holds up longer. If you keep the car 3 years that is 150K miles and over that distance I think the manual will last longer.

I just filled up my '03 Civic with 11.1 gal and the needs fuel light was on, so that is a complete fill up. I had driven 434 miles on that tank of gas and the fill up costs $27.00. Perhaps a diesel could do bit better, but 40 mpg is fine with me.


My brother’s Civic with an AT has averaged 37-40 mpg for years, back roads and highways. Hard to beat that.


I agree that there are differences.

One must remember to multiply mpg(Imperial) by 5/6 to convert to mpg(US). I have already done that in my 08/11/2009 9:23 post.

It appears to me that EPA and VCA are generally within about 10% of each other. And that IS FAR BETTER than the CONSISTENT 25% to 35% higher ratings for US NHTSA’s values used in CAFE compared to US EPA.

In the case of your Prius, VCA rates it at 65.7 mpg(Imperial) [~55 mpg(US)] combined cycle. EPA rates this machine at 46 mpg(US) combined average. And EPA’s 14 “consumer experience average” is 50.6 mpg(US) … RIGHT in the MIDDLE between the VCA and EPA ratings!

At least that is the way I see it.


The CAFE #s are based on unadjusted EPA #s, not some separate measurements. It goes back to when CAFE was first set up.


Now that I think about it, the Civic is a noisy car. If I was going to spend 40 hours in my car each week, I would want something quieter.


Also remember that 1 gal diesel =/= 1 gal gasoline. Diesel is typically 20% more “energy dense,” so that burning 1 gal diesel is the equivalent of burning 1.2 gal gasoline. A more accurate comparison could be made by comparing miles driven per weight of fuel used.

Of course, if one is concerned primarily with economy, one only need worry about relative prices…and again, look at about a 20% surplus for diesel.


A Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide from the bookstore would be $20 well spent here. They’ll show you all the options and provide data to boot.


So, you agree that “base” vehicle CAFE fuel economies use the “old (pre-2008) EPA test methods” from the 1970 and are about 25% to 35% HIGHER than typically experienced by the consumer?