The Disturbing Truth: A Diesel Won't Save You Money

If you're looking to save money by buying a diesel,
 you'll need to consider several important factors. 
As the price of diesel continues to rise and the price advantage continues to diminish, people have begun to question the benefits of a diesel engine.  Arguably not as important for North Americans, people everywhere else, take note. If you live in a diesel praising continent such as Europe, you'll at the time of a new car purchase always find yourself deciding between a diesel burning engine or a normal petrol engine. While in the States certain German premium cars are slowly becoming available with petrol alternatives, in Europe just about anything on four wheels comes in an array of diesel engine choices. And it's all because of the shared belief that a diesel engine will cost you less in the long run, as it drinks considerably less fuel than a petrol engine. Well, they're all wrong.  New studies are showing some disturbing truths surrounding diesel engines.

Let's first dive in to the ongoing diesel vs. petrol debate. Since petrol is more expensive, and burns (albeit differently) much faster than diesel, it'll cost you more on both ends. Both in gas mileage, and price per liter. So where's the tradeoff? Well, while a diesel engine will usually generate more low end torque, it'll also pollute tons more, react slower, and sound godawful. Unless we're talking about a BMW 535d, a gem of a diesel, there isn't really such a thing as a sporty diesel. And that's exactly why people who appreciate a sportier non-clattery sounding engine spec a petrol engine in their Volkswagen Golf. If instead you count pennies and make long boring trips to work every day, you may be inclined to go for the slightly more expensive at purchase diesel, hoping to eventually save money in the long run, i.e. at the pumps. Not exactly much of an i.e. since when at purchase you'll spend more, and at sale get back less, the ONLY place where a diesel has the potential to make a difference is at the pumps. And there's a massive IF in there somewhere. More about that later. Then there's the low CO2-emissions tax rebate gov't incentive mumbo jumbo that'll try and persuade the money cautious people in to buying a diesel. Unfortunately for Mother Earth, CO2-emissions don't take in to account all of the poisonous substances which are emitted from an exhaust. Unmeasured harmful substances, characteristic of diesels, which most people fail to take in to account. What people also tend to forget about is that the second hand market doesn't take fancy to diesels, especially high mileage ones. A well informed buyer will steer clear from well used diesels as they are prone to big repair bills, air-care fails, and increased fuel consumption.

But let's get back to the ground breaking study I mentioned earlier. It turns out, that in just about any circumstance aside from steady highway driving, a diesel will actually consume 20% more fuel as is claimed. This juice piece of information tells us that, since the price gap is closing in, a diesel will cost you more than a petrol engine. (Petrol engines only exceed their claimed consumption figures by 10% on average). This effect is multiplied if your engine's cold, and when it's already got tons of short trip miles on the odometer. So if you're driving a last generation VW Diesel with a decent amount of clicks, and you're doing a lot of city driving, we'll... you're doing it wrong. You may want to think twice about shaking your head at that owner taking his Porsche GT3 to the grocery store. Thus if you're not putting mainly highway miles on your diesel engine, it may be time to stop polluting the athmostphere with all those black fumes, toxins, unrefined fossil fuel, and start flipping through a Porsche catalogue. So buy a petrol burning car, and live a little while saving both money AND the environment. Have I just given you a golden argument that'll have your wife thinking Panamera over Minivan? Game. Set. Match.

Note: Car manufacturers are continually improving diesel engines in a attempt to make them clean burning, less noisy, and give them increasingly similar driving characteristics as petrol engines. BMW's award winning 'Lucifer' dubbed 3.5 liter diesel is a great example of a better diesel engine, but unfortunately the streets aren't all lined with 535d's. Until then, do everyone a favor and buy a petrol. Feel free to join in on the discussion in the comments below.