Hybrid (insight) or a Diesel (VW TDI)?

I happened to drop by a VW dealership.
I gather people are making their own bio diesel and using it on TDIs

I have been considering getting an insight - would I be better off with a Diesel and make my own diesel?

I do not know many other diesel cars other than VW.

I think that the VW TDI would be about as economical as the Insight if you buy the gasoline at the pump. I’m not certain about the economy of making your own diesel fuel. There may be a risk to damaging the engine. You would have to invest your time and it should be worth something. I suppose I could brew my own beer, but I prefer to buy it off the shelf.

You do NOT want to make biodiesel for a new VW TDI, it’ll ruin the engine and void your warranty. The process to make biodiesel uses dangerous chemicals, and requires lots of equipment and space. So get the TDI if you want, it’s a great car, but don’t plan on making your own fuel.

You can make your own diesel fuel, but you will have to find the oil somewhere, transport it home, turn it into fuel, and pump it into your car. As if that is not enough work, you have to pay taxes as if you bought it at the pump. No fooling. Of course, who would know? But if the taxing authorities found out, you’d be in a world of hurt. You might also check the price of diesel fuel. It is almost 60 cents more per gallon than regular gasoline around Baltimore. That’s high enough that there isn’t much money saved in buying the TDI. You might save $130 or so for each 10,000 miles you drive with the diesel vs. the gasoline Golf.

One more thing: don’t forget the up front costs to buy and install the equipment you need to filter and convert vegetable oil to diesel fuel. You also need a place to do it, and a garage attached to the house might not be the right place to do it.

If you want to experiment with running a diesel engine on “home brew” vegetable oil diesel fuel, you don’t want to do it with a brand new $22k+ car. You want to do it with something along the lines of an old Mercedes or old 7.3L Ford Power Stroke. Reason being not to do this with a brand new car is that you stand a chance of ruining the engine if you make a mistake. I would also imagine a brand new TDI is much more sensitive to variances in fuel quality than a 30 year old Mercedes or Power Stroke, which is what most veggie oil diesel hobbyists drive. It would be a shame to trash a brand new car by trying to save money.

Iirc, the best candidate for biofuel is an indirect injected diesel, like those old (1980s) mercedes and early 1990s ford trucks, before they were labeled “power stroke”…but my memory is not the greatest…

I second the “not using a brand new car for this experiment” idea, so go with the insight.

My bad. I tend to refer to the 7.3L Ford diesels in general as Power Strokes, and that may be incorrect or partially incorrect. Pretty much everyone I have seen doing the vegetable oil diesel projects use either the old Mercedes cars or an older Ford pickup. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone try this with a new or late model car or truck. It may work, but could end up being a really expensive mistake if things don’t work too well.

Diesel injection pumps are capable of producing a very high pressure-20,000 psi plus. They are engineered to use a specific lubericant, diesel #1 and diesel #2. Mad scientist mixtures can damage the pump.

Some manufactures allow for B10 or B20 ( 10% or 20% vegetable oil) but you should research the product specifications before you buy.

Some bus companies use B20, let them use the vegetable oil, they consume much more fuel in a week than you will in in a life time.

DIY diesel, is not all that great. It is true you can DIY, but considering the work and possible problems, it is not a good idea for most people. In some areas finding the supply of materials etc, can be a problem.

I have a VW diesel, and it is a model that can be converted easier than many others, I will not bother. On the other hand if I were 18 years old again and had more time than sense, I would likely do it.

I recommend anyone who wants real advice from those who actively make diesel for their cars, go to: TDICLUB.COM

I don’t understand why anyone would consider an Insight. The Prius gets better fuel economy.

Other diesel cars besides VW are Mercedes and BMW.

There is a strong rumour that Chevy may introduce on in their decent Chevy Cruze. The chevy cruze is a great vehicle that they thankfully imported the design(engine/vehicle) from GM Europe.

I was on the edge between an insight and a VW Diesel. (I did not want to make my own fuel though). I found that the Hybrid was a better deal, when you considered that the cost of diesel (around me) is about 10% more then Unleaded regular, and you really did not get 10% better fuel efficiency with the VW. So I got the Insight

Also, I am getting about 44 Mpg AVERAGE for my insight ( I think it is rated 43/40 in the specs).

Whitney: The insight cost me about $5K less then the (comparably equipped) Prius, the gas savings calculates to be about 100 gallons a year between the insight and the Prius (with my mileage: 18K/year), so it would take me over 10 years to make back the extra $5,000 cost of the car, saving ~$350/yr of gas.