Diesel! It makes stuff go.

Most Large trucks run on diesel, but there are also a wide variety of cars that use diesel engines. Diesel engines are much more efficient and thus get much better mileage. Known for its unique sounding engines, diesel is less refined than gasoline. Modern Diesels are as clean, if not cleaner than gasoline burning vehicles.

"Diesel is the world's most efficient internal combustion engine. It provides more power and more fuel efficiency than alternatives such as gasoline, compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas.

It is not widely recognized that diesel has some environmental advantages over other types of engines. Of the five major emissions from internal combustion engines - carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides - diesel emits only small amounts of the first three.

Excessive smoke means a problem with the engine, such as being out of tune, needing maintenance or not operating efficiently. Excess smoke is bad for operators because it's unburned fuel or "dollars going right out of the smokestack," so most act quickly to correct the problem. New clean diesel engines do not smoke and have been designed to be smoke-free since 1994." *from http://www.dieselforum.org/factsheet/cleandiesel.html

New diesels cannot be sold in California; cars must have 7,500 miles on them to qualify as used and be legal to sell or register. (source: phone call to Niello Volkswagen in Sacramento who carries used diesel Jettas)

Biodiesel is a fuel made from recycled vegetable oil that can be used in diesel engines. It can also be mixed with diesel fuel to create a blend. Biodiesel prices have generally been higher than those of standard diesel, but recently the gap has been closing.

Local Diesels

  • TarZxf has a 1999.5 VW Jetta TDI. 45-50 MPG, 40 with air conditioning running at all times.
  • GeorgeLewis has a 1970 Mercedes Benz 220D. 40 MPG.

New diesels cannot be sold in Calif??? My parents bought a new Oldsmobile diesel in 1988. It turned out to be a lemon, we had more repair$$$ on the engine of that car... This is not saying all diesel engines are bad, but that model became infamous. They replaced it with a Toyota, which NEVER had problems. —SteveDavison

  • No they can't, but that's in 2005, 17 years after your parents bought their car. Laws do change. ;) — jw
    • Any more detail about that law, like when it changed? Does this apply only to passenger cars, not trucks? I can't imagine what the reasoning would be. —SteveDavison
      • Passenger cars only, since mid year 2003. Mom bought her Jetta TDI wagon new off the lot in Roseville in May 2003. Trucks have different emission requirements. The reason cited by many diesel loving CA'er is that the state hates Diesel cars because they are noisy and cause pollution. I don't believe it one bit, nor does my family.
        • Yes, they pollute. So do gasoline engines. It says above the Diesel is cleaner. Fear of biodiesel? I'm not a conspiracy theory believer, but it makes one wonder... I wonder who pushed for the bill.
        • Update: After checking around, others assured me new diesels CAN be sold, assuming they meet particulate and NOx emissions standards. Do you have a reference for your assertion that they cannot?
          • Uh, yes. It's been cited since it was stated on the page. — jw

There was a period, 2007-2008 I believe, in which VW TDI Diesel vehicles were not 50-state compliant, and therefore could not be sold in California. As of the 2009 model year, VW TDI's are once again 50-state compliant and can be bought new in the state of California. The 2009 model year incorporated major design changes such as the 'common-rail' fuel injection system and a regenerative particulate filter in the exhaust system of VW TDI's. These changes mean that the vehicles are compliant with all CARB and EPA emissions requirements. —BrianNaiman