Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Why hasn’t diesel taken off in the US?

I have a 2014 Chevy Cruze diesel, I have no problem with it at all, the fuel mileage is amazing and the power is unbelievable for a diesel, why hasn’t diesel technology taken off in this country, I was in Brazil a few years back and rode in a Chevy s10 that had a 4 cylinder duramax with 500,000 kilometers on it, they don’t have salt in that country so maybe the body would fall apart before the engine, Chevy bought this engine from fiat and put it in the Cruze, how long will it run with proper maintenance?

We have posters on here that have put 300000, 400000, and eben500000 miles on their gasoline engines with meticulous maintenance.


car guys on english shows always said diesel was money issue. fuel is/was cheaper. got better mileage. taxes and so on. they like a diesel in a suv as it is better suited for performance/pulling situations. in a car? meh. whatever is cheaper
never got the mercedes/diesel sedan thing. why? germany is the size of ohio. i am not driving 600mile/week in germany.

Contrary to popular opinion, diesels do not last longer that gas engines. Car diesels are not designed to be as robust as semi truck engines. A VW diesel has a 250,000 life. But so does their gas engines.

Diesel is popular in Europe because they tax it less, we tax it more. Also the Euro refineries are set up to produce 50/50 gas/diesel while US refineries are create a 75/25 gas/diesel split.

And finally, early deisels were very weak so they never took hold in the US in our big cars. Modern direct injection diesels are terrific but the die has been cast.

Huh, what. Where on earth did You get that info from?
That’ll be a huge surprise for the huge numbers of owners of VW’s (from any brand actually) who has exceeded that number by far. Diesels, if used correct, can reach huge numbers, way more than a gasoline engine. 500k miles over here, for a diesel, is not something to brag about, not even for the small 3 cyl. diesels.

Btw. While diesel are a tad cheaper in some countries over here, buying a diesel will cost more than an equivalent gas version and in many countries, the road tax cost more.

I would feel bad if I realized I had spent 500k miles of my life in a car.
I drive 80miles each way to work? Move.

I agree. I have never put more than 6,000 miles on a car in a year, though I realize the average is closer to 10,000. I am impressed when I see odometer readings in the 300,000 mile range, and that’s on a car from the 1980s-1990s.

I realize that some people do drive a lot more, because I frequently see cars for sale on Craigslist that are only a few years old with over 100,000 miles. I would not be willing or able to spend that much time sitting in my car.

Diesel has increasingly been demonized

In neighborhoods close to major ports, people say there are links between health problems and the exhaust from the trucks delivering and moving the shipping containers

Many fleets are moving away from diesel and focusing on cng

and let’s not forget that many/most filling stations don’t carry diesel fuel

And it’s usually more expensive than premium fuel

No wonder it never really took off . . .

Experience of US based friends that used VW car and Ford truck diesels to rack up large commuting miles and from the mechanics who serviced them.

Not many car or trucks simply will not survive as long as their engine might. Many vehicles are considered not worth the cost to keep them on the road beyond 250 to 350K miles even if the engine can last to 500K. Notice I say “considered” because many owners reach the 3 or 400K miles, gas or diesel, because they drive a lot of miles per year and maintain them regularly. Many Americans lax maintenance programs, especially on vehicles that have exceeded 200K miles, effectively kills the car. Why put a 500K engine in a car that will never, ever achieve this?

Maintenance is more expensive on the diesel. Edmunds estimates maintenance cost at the dealer at $8300 for 5 years on the diesel and $6700 on the gasoline version.

1 Like

After seeing people stand in line for gasoline during the last hurricane evacuation, while diesel users came and went after filling up, I pretty much decided to make my next car a Chevy Cruze diesel.

Then I read reviews of the Chevy Cruze Diesel, and it didn’t seem like something I’d want to use outside of hurricane evacuation, so I ruled it out.

It seems to me that, if you value being able to fuel your car during a crisis when gas stations have run out of gasoline, you’d prefer diesel not take off in popularity. You’d lose your advantage.

Just me but I bought a new Olds diesel in 1981. I paid $10,000 including $800 for the diesel option. It got about 24 mpg. Two years later I was offered $2400 on a trade. My first problem was getting a bad tank of fuel in DesMoine at 20,000 and crawled 200 miles home to the dealer. Then I dunno lots of stuff all mixed up like a $300 starter. Several $500 injector pumps, $1200 head gaskets. A new Goodwrench crate engine at 200,000. Another used engine around 350,000, etc. etc. Trying to get my money out of it but junked it at 480,000 licking my wounds. Give me a good ole gaser any day not to mention gelled fuel at 20 below and diesel costing more than gas.

1 Like

Back in the day, (1970s and '80s), diesel cars had commercial diesel engines wedged into their engine compartments. This would theoretically give you the robustness of a commercial diesel engine, but in reality, the engines were so hard to work on that even a minor issue was expensive to deal with.

Today’s non-truck diesel engines are completely different. They’re quieter, and particularly in the case of the Freightliner/Mercedes/Chrysler Sprinter, they’re not very reliable at all.

If I was shopping for a full-sized pickup truck, particularly a dually, I’d totally consider one with a diesel engine, and I’d consider getting a diesel car if someone puts out a good one, particularly if it’s a hybrid I can use in the HOV lane during rush hour. :wink:

Haven’t you though?

Did your parents take vacations in cars?

I estimate I’ve spent at least a million miles riding and driving in cars.

I feel bad for people who live near truck stops in towns that haven’t made idling illegal. Can you imagine how much more particulate matter they have in the air compared to other places?

1 Like

It’s true that well maintained, the short block of the diesel is usually pretty robust. But you still got the high pressure injection pump system as a common failure item, and relatively expensive to diagnose & replace. To get the performance (i.e. nimble acceleration) American’s demand from their vehicles these days usually requires a turbo-diesel system, and that adds further repair, maintenance, and reliability expense. Finally VW’s massive diesel emissions scandal has hurt the diesel engine image badly.

My understanding of the 70s & 80s GM diesel’s was that they put diesel head’s on the 350 block’s & left everything else standard to the gas 350’s & most of the problem;s come from not being able to stand the torque the diesel put out.

Well, I believe it was a little bit more involved than simply slapping diesel heads on a stock 350 block

but yes, I believe those early gm v8 diesels were very much based on a plain jane 350

I think they were initially 6.2 liter displacement, though . . . so there were obviously some changes bottom end, as well

1 Like

Because they smell, are noisy, and you need a calendar to measure 0-60 time. Admittedly my last experience with diesel cars was in the 70’s, and they may be better now.

The average diesel sedans are a LOT faster now

1 Like