Because of recent diesel emissions issues, the number of diesel models on the new-vehicle market has dropped like a stone. Some of the most popular models have been pulled from the market, including a large number of German vehicles. The remaining models at new car dealerships come from a variety of manufacturers, some of which have made a return to or branched out into the diesel market in North America.
Because of ever advancing technology, today’s diesel engines are quieter, smoother and more powerful than they were in the past. Trying to determine whether a diesel or gasoline powered vehicle is better for the environment is tough, but thanks to new emissions laws, diesel motors are cleaner than ever. Today most models use diesel particulate filters (or DPFs) to remove black carbon soot and diesel exhaust fluid (or DEF) to reduce NOx emissions. The DPF should maintain itself by going into regeneration (or regen) mode, but the DEF tank will need to be refilled occasionally, usually every 10,000 miles or so.
When buying a new vehicle, the diesel model might carry a considerable price premium over the gasoline model, but it’s important to look at both sides of the equation. Often used cars with diesel engines are significantly more valuable than their gasoline counterparts thanks to increased demand, which can also make them easier to sell. Because of the diesel engine’s reputation for reliability high mileage diesel cars often tend to hold their value better than high mileage gasoline-powered vehicles as well. Don’t expect to make up for the price premium purely in fuel saving, however, as with the high cost of diesel fuel in some areas it might take thousands of miles of driving before you break even.