Debunking Diesel: 5 Reasons Why You Should Drive a Diesel Car

A Girls Guide To Cars | Debunking Diesel: 5 Reasons Why You Should Drive A Diesel Car - 2014 Chevy Cruse Diesel1

Cars that burn diesel fuel are becoming more popular; they get better mileage, are environmentally sensitive and drive just like a regular car. Still, many people still have outdated notions about diesels. Thanks to innovations by a number of car makers, they are no longer the noisy, smelly or polluting engines they used to be and can offer advantages over conventional gasoline powered cars.

To educate consumers, the Diesel Technology Forum, website has a list of current and upcoming diesel cars, and diesel cars are popular topic among car journalists.

The New York Times raved about the Chevy Cruze Turbo Diesel, a 2014 car that has just hit the market. It gets 46 mpg and has both power and style to spare. We put the Mercedes Benz GL350 BlueTEC to the one-tank family road trip challenge trip and netted more than 600 miles before we had to fill up. And I just drove the comfy Volkswagen Jetta TDI and got 42 MPG.

2014 Vw Jetta

2014 VW Jetta

Here are five reasons to consider buying a diesel car:

1. Diesel Fuel Economy

Darryll Harrison, a spokesperson for VW, said that Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel engines typically offer ‘more than 30 percent improvement’ in fuel economy, a savings that more than offsets the 5-10% premium that diesel fuel might command.

Tom Read, a General Motors spokesperson, said that Chevy Cruze, with a highway fuel economy of 46 mpg “earns the best non-hybrid highway fuel economy in the U.S.”

2. Go Far on a Tank

An advantage of diesel over hybrid is the long range of diesel cars due to bigger tanks paired with better MPG. Harrison said that “the Passat TDI achieves up to 795 miles per tank, Jetta TDI more than 600 miles per tank and the Touareg TDI more than 760 miles per tank.” The Cruze puts up similar numbers; according to GM, “drivers can go over 700 miles on a single tank of fuel.”

3. Lower CO2 Emissions

Harrison, at VW, says, “today’s clean diesels offer more efficient engines that produce less CO2 emissions.  On average, today’s clean diesel passenger cars are 20 – 40 percent cleaner than comparable gasoline vehicles.”

4. Great Performance

According to General Motors, diesel powered cars generally have excellent performance. “Using the Cruze diesel as an example the peak torque (the twisting force of the engine and what pushes you back in your seat) is at a nice high 264  lb-ft, which makes it feel like you have a larger engine,” said Read.

5. Diesel is Readily Available

And diesel fuel should not be difficult to find. According to the Diesel Technology Forum over half of all retail fuel stations in the United States offer diesel fuel.

Just be sure you don’t mistake regular gas for diesel.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell