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There’s a stigma attached to owning certain types of cars, and diesel vehicles are no exception. Diesel owners are thought of either as environmentalists who care about the health of the planet, uncaring polluters who don’t mind their cars emitting black smoke, or just frugal drivers who want to save money on fuel. In reality, there are many who love diesel-powered vehicles for their combination of fuel economy, long range, reliability and high levels of torque.
Diesel fuel contains more energy per gallon than gasoline, which explains why diesel engines usually get better fuel economy than similarly powerful gas engines. Several factors can offset the savings you might expect from going to diesel, however, some diesel fuel costs more than even premium gasoline and the extra money that you might have to spend to upgrade to an optional diesel engine at the time of purchase. To determine whether a diesel is right for you, you’ll have to take all these factors into account; generally diesels only pay for themselves if you drive many miles a year.
Owning and maintaining a diesel-powered vehicle is often less work than doing the same with a gasoline powered vehicle. Because diesel engines use compression to ignite the fuel, there is no ignition system to worry about, so most maintenance revolves around changing the oil, air, and fuel filters on a regular basis. Today’s diesel engines are smoother and quieter than they were in the past, and they should have no problems starting even on even the coldest days.
Then there’s the torque. If you regularly haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in a hilly area, the torque a diesel provides will prove very welcome, and will all but eliminate the constant downshifting sometimes associated with gasoline engines. Riding the wave of torque a good diesel provides is an altogether different experience than what you get from a gasoline engine, and one that can easily prove addicting.