By on July 29, 2008

It somes in a plain wrapper, too.Even though diesel fuel costs more than gasoline, even though diesel engines cost more than their gasoline equivalents, VW plans to sell TDI versions of the Jetta and Sportwagon stateside in 2009. To get the party started, VeeDub's announced that TDI buyers will be eligible for a $1.3k Federal Income Tax Credit. Yup, your tax money in their pocket, under the Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle credit program. The EPA has certified the TDI at 29 mpg city, 41 mpg highway. BUT VW cites test results from "leading third-party certifier, AMCI" (paid by VW of course) claiming the models get 38 mpg in the city and 44 on the highway. And while they work that one out, Toyota can't build enough their gas – electric Priora fast enough, even with a $500 price hike. [Source: VW]

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46 Comments on “VW TDI Gets $1,300 Federal Tax Credit...”

  • avatar

    How the heck can they get away with this? Why would the govt accept the figures of any outside concern over the EPA? At least the EPA is known to use consistent standards.

    Is this the first fruit of VW’s move to DC area? They are schmoozing someone in government to get this deal.

    How about some of us get together and open up a “third party” certification outfit that will let Hummer claim 40MPG?

  • avatar

    The Germans are such a bunch of “Wossn’t inwented here” idiots. They’ll continue to push their “lovely” diesels and shun other technologies.

    You’ve just reminded me why I don’t like their cars.

    Incidentally, how did VW get their Jetta certified for NA sale but still haven’t got the Bluemotion Polo into sale in NA? The Bluemotion Polo is far cleaner than a TDI Jetta….

  • avatar

    I am sorry, but diesel cars should not be the beneficiary of green car tax credits. By the same logic, light, small-displacement gasoline cars that get 30/40 should also qualify (Ford Fiesta / Chevy Cruze). Europeans are slowly, but surely, coming to the realization that diesel particulate matter is causing chronic health problems for its citizens. Diesel slightly slows, but does not help solve oil dependancy. Furthermore, diesel cars will compete with diesel trucks, thus perhaps straining supplies and increasing prices on both the fuel, and the products carried by the trucks.

  • avatar

    Diesel engines are ICE’s.

  • avatar

    that makes the tdi premium (~2k) disappear real fast…

  • avatar

    Great, that means the dealers can throw another $1300 “market adjustment” ontop of it when the me-first suckers come streaming in.

    My TDI was fun to drive, but the savings at the current price increase of diesel to RUG here made the savings per mile down into the fraction of a cent area, and I was waiting for the day when something serious broke and I would have to hope like hell I could find a competent small diesel mechanic.

    Pete Townshead said it best, “Won’t be fooled again.”

  • avatar

    Yeah, it makes alot of sense to bash VW for this…WTF?!

    AMCI has done testing for almost all of the manufacturers including; Ford, GM, Totota, Nissan, Merc, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Hyundai, Chrysler, and more. Everyone knows where VW’s numbers came from…why blame them for the Gov. giving buyers some tax breaks to buy a legitimate high-mileage car?

  • avatar


  • avatar

    You gotta love those cynics! They always have a ready answer for everything, as long as it’s “no.”

    The only folks who appreciate VW’s TDI engines are those who drive them. Mine gives me 40-50 mpg, and cruises silently at highway speeds, with mountain-flattening power. (Those of you with VW’s lower-end gas engines certainly can’t make those claims.) My ’02 is biodiesel-friendly (though these new ones may not be), and is happy with any blend of bio- or traditional diesel. It drives like a car, needs no costly, high-tech batteries, and even comes with an manual transmission.

    So what’s not to like? The tax subsidy? Sorry, Ayn Rand fans, but that’s the way the world works. Several years ago we were granting much larger tax subsidies to Hummer buyers. This seems a wiser use of the taxman’s bundle of carrots. It will save more petroleum than the “flex-fuel” vehicles, most of which will spend their working lives on a diet of gasoline.

    Those who swear, “No diesel for me, no never” better not test drive one of the new TDIs. I have, and I found it almost indistinguishable from the 2.0T in the GTI. The draw of a modern diesel isn’t just the fuel economy, or the power, or the durability, or the high resale value, or the driving experience, or the reduced CO2 emissions– it’s all those things, added together.

  • avatar

    blankfocus and others…good job.

    Listen to these crybabies!
    Where were they when the government was giving our tax dollars to the other so called “save the earth” cars?
    If you are against government using our money to force social changes, don’t cry when its only against what you believe in!
    Please….if others get it, VW gets it for great MPG.

  • avatar

    First off, Tax credits for anything are ludicrous. Second Diesel engines are Internal Combustion Engines. You should change your phrase to “Their gasoline equivalents.”

    That said I’ve never seen anything less than 46 MPG in my TDI (except for one bad batch of homebrew BioDiesel that only did 39 MPG… how many of you would be pissed off to get “only” 39 MPG?) and in fact the car averages 50 MPG on pretty much every tank. The benefit you get from driving a Diesel powered car is the availability of alternative fuels. Many of these do not have the downsides of petroleum-based fuels. Plus, it costs me about $1.40 to make a gallon of my own fuel. How long has it been since any of you paid that price to fill up? Driving a Diesel gives you the REAL option of energy independence.

    Another benefit of Diesel power is that you can drive the same size/weight car with a MUCH smaller engine, further increasing economy.

    The EPA sticker on my car says 42 City 49 Hwy. I don’t know what VW has done to their Jetta’s since 2002 to kill that… unless the EPA test was done with a slushbox? As far as that is concerned if you can’t swap your own cogs, you can’t bitch about fuel economy, or lack thereof.


  • avatar

    so you guys are going to complain about VW getting a tax break for a 50mpg car, but not the guys that buy the full size trucks for “business”. right.

  • avatar

    Diesels don’t deserve a tax credit because they’re dirty. More dirty than some gas-powered SUVs. Yes, even the clean diesel is just barely clean enough to be sold here – not clean enough to be worth giving preferential tax treatment to.

  • avatar

    M1EK – thats just flat out not true.

    his Jetta TDI will meet emissions standards applicable in all 50 states, including the most stringent “TIER 2/BIN 5” or “LEV II/LEV” requirement limiting nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to 0.05 g/mile.

  • avatar

    It’s time that we expanded this to include a $15,000 Overhead Valve tax credit. (It would obviously be used to support historic preservation.) That might help a few companies that you’ve heard of…

  • avatar

    Chuck, the EPA has revised the fuel economy reporting standards downward twice in the last few years. I think that 2006 vintage TDIs are now reported a little below where the new CR 2.0 Jetta is. EPA’s own docs show that real world reports (in limited numbers, admittedly) get 18% better mileage than the current standards say.

    The merits of the program are debatable, but let’s keep the facts straight. VW is just following the rules laid out by Congress to get the credit, using the EPA numbers (or maybe their predecessor) rather than the AMCI numbers. And the tax credit goes to the buyer, not to VW as the article suggests (“your tax money in their pocket”).

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    Remember what you are trashing here. It is not diesel versus hybrid/electric. Hopefully it will be all three taking the sales from traditional gas engined cars. If you are coming down from a light truck or SUV wouldn’t a wagon with a diesel be an acceptable alternative when a sedan or hatchback just won’t haul enough? We can argue until the cows come home, electrics have heavy dirty batteries that have to be disposed of and diesels are still dirty, what we can’t do is keep buying the same things we now drive. Let there be diversity and alternatives in fuel efficient rides. Toyota got their customers millions of tax credits to get the prius going, why is VW all of a sudden a criminal doing the same thing? Finally, if you were poorer and could only afford a used car, would you want a Prius needing a $4000 battery pack, or a used VW with 100,000 on a diesel? Would you have a choice in the matter?

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for them to hire Hugh Downs (yes he’s still around) for a commercial…..
    “We drove from Phoenix to LA, never exceeding 55mph”

  • avatar

    Wheatridger : So what’s not to like? The tax subsidy? Sorry, Ayn Rand fans, but that’s the way the world works. Several years ago we were granting much larger tax subsidies to Hummer buyers. This seems a wiser use of the taxman’s bundle of carrots.

    So we should be happy because the TDI tax credit is a less foul smelling pork than the Hummer/SUV/truck tax credits?

    They both stink, have no business in our government, and deserve to die.

  • avatar

    Hardly worth getting emotional over a tax credit that is limited to a low volume seller like the TDIs. At least they are frugal vehicles but at $4 a gallon I doubt anyone needs incentives to buy a frugal vehicle.

    However, the business tax credit’s and gas guzzler exemption of luxury SUVs are a much larger scam.

  • avatar

    Sajeev- There are at least two ways for a society to collectively make decisions through the mechanisms of government:
    1) ban what you don’t like, or
    2) offer incentives for what you want to encourage.

    Which of these strategies offers us consumers more choice? Whic h would you prefer to live within? I’ll take no. 2, please, almost every time.

    Please don’t tell me the third way is to let everyone buy whatever they please, with no incentives or restrictions. That may sound good, but it’s a way to avoid societal decisions, not to make them.

  • avatar

    Sajeev is correct.
    Your philosophy giving the government the title of “society” is a wicked use of writer’s license.
    If you keep the damned government out and let the market choose, that is society making the decisions.
    So, your two choices are really leading to a damned if you do damned if you don’t conclusion that doesn’t exist.
    Keep the government out of the market.
    Take away all tax incentives.
    Let the technology stand on its own merits.
    Oh, and give me the flat tax!…a whole different topic.

  • avatar

    How many of you diesel bashers have actually *driven* a modern computer controlled turbodiesel? I’m going to guess that the answer is not very many of you. From what I’ve read, the 2009 TDI has oodles of torque (235 ft-lbs), still can achieve better than 50 MPG (the EPA numbers have always been wrong with TDIs), is Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant for emissions, and is almost as quiet as a gas engine. I personally am a little sad about the noise reduction because I enjoy listening to diesel clatter, but that’s my opinion. Anyway, I’d recommend test driving a new TDI before bashing it.

    And a tax credit is not bad. Canada offered tax credits on TDIs a couple of years ago, so it’s about time the US did the same. No matter what fuel it runs on, it’s a highly efficient car, just like the Prius. Hybrid tax credits have been much higher than $1300. In my opinion, anything that gets people buying more compact, fuel efficient vehicles is a good thing. The government is just going to throw tons of money at GM for doing nothing, so I don’t see why everyone is whining about $1300 per TDI. VW only plans to sell 30000 of them this year, so that’s a total of $39 million. GM will probably get billions in loans from the government. The German and Japanese companies are actually trying to build cars that people want, so even without a tax credit available they should be commended.

    Meanwhile, GM is still out whackin’ it in the tool shed day after day (after day).

  • avatar

    Yes, Brett. I did. My 2005 TDI automatic Golf. My combined mileage was about 36mpg, which wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of heat for my short winter commute, overpriced and difficult to find VW spec oil, fuel additive, nasty fuel pumps, not-quite-as-common fuel pumps, or the 25% increase in fuel price to RUG for, honestly, comparable power.

    It was a good car, and it was even a fun car. If diesel cost the same as RUG it would’ve been a great car, but it wasn’t. It was a series of compromises that I didn’t need to make.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand the opposition to a tax credit for the TDI on the basis of the fact that it’s not a hybrid. The point is to improve MPG, not to encourage a specific technology.

  • avatar

    yournamehere, that bin of emissions is the dirtiest that can legally be sold in this country. How is that not precisely what I said?

    They’re dirtier than modern gas engines – and a LOT dirtier than hybrids. The only way they can be called “clean” is in comparison to older diesels.

  • avatar

    Toyota got their customers millions of tax credits to get the prius going, why is VW all of a sudden a criminal doing the same thing?

    Because we shouldn’t be subsidizing something which generates MORE pollution than the things we aren’t subsidizing.

  • avatar

    I’m all for the tax credit thing, but I don’t see the rules applied consistently. If VW TDI buyers get it for buying vehicles reaching a threshold MPG, what about a base Civic or Hyundai? What about buyers of used cars getting a rebate??

    Seems like the rules need to be communicated more clearly.

  • avatar

    This “dirty diesel” claim needs some proof, M1EK. Furthermore, it needs to be discussed in detail, if at all. What exactly do you mean by “dirtier’?

    — if you mean the dark soot that can be seen from my tailpipe only at full throttle, I’d agree. There is more visible soot than a gas car.

    — if you’re talking about NOx, the major component of smog, you have a point, too. This is a great concern in hot, sunny climates but less of a problem in northern states.

    Diesels face inherent disadvantages with these pollutants. Every generation of TDIs has been cleaner, though, by significant margins.

    But clean diesels do bring advantages in two other key air pollutants, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. These tend to increase or decrease according to the amount of fuel burned. Of all these four car-caused pollutants, I worry most about the CO2, because it’s much more persistent in the atmosphere than the others, That’s why I proudly licensed my Beetle TDI as “LESSCO2.”

    Diesel engines do have a major image problem, though. Just look at all the school buses spewing thick smoke, and the jumbo Duramax pickups clattering like a metaling drum circle, over in the next lane. You can’t help but notice the unclean side of diesels. So some folks blame the fuel, rather than the engine that burns it. Buthow popular would the Prius be if every other one of them was sparking off lightning bolts and rumbling with thunder?

    My Beetle has no TDI badge, so you’ll never even know what passed you…

  • avatar

    By dirty, I’m primarily concerned with NO2 and soot. Yes, it emits less CO2 than the average car. So does a Honda Fit.

  • avatar

    Can I get a tax credit for using public transportation? How about my motorcycle that averages 40-50mpg?

  • avatar

    re: “Why would the govt accept the figures of any outside concern over the EPA? At least the EPA is known to use consistent standards.”
    66Nova / July 29th, 2008 at 10:51 am


    consistent, perhaps. but honest and/or accurate? not so much.

    once one takes into account how the epa and its openly partisan administrator, stephen johnson, have intentionally manipulated and/or restricted the disemination of factual information concerning anthropogenic climate change to satisfy corrupt leadership within the very highest levels of our executive branch of government and in favor of the long-running oil company/automotive industry agenda – how can anyone claim or believe that the epa, as currently configured, is credible about anything?

  • avatar

    re: “Keep the government out of the market.”
    ppellico / July 29th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    society cannot afford to keep the government out of the market. regulations are essential to ensure a fair, honest and sustainable system [and even then, they will at times fall short – but that doesn’t mean they should not be instituted]. let’s face facts. like it or not, many people are corrupt. many others are corruptable. just look at the financial mess we are in the middle of right now. a big part of the blame – and i mean ‘huge’ – are the unregulated hedge funds, the under-regulated investment companies and the poorly-regulated mortgage industry.

    again and again, time after time, people continue to prove that they cannot be trusted – especially when the pursuit and/or the attainment of money is involved.

    only one way to resolve that. everything should be regulated. everything. and strictly enforced.

  • avatar

    “. Buthow popular would the Prius be if every other one of them was sparking off lightning bolts and rumbling with thunder?”

    I’d wager pretty popular, actually. :)

  • avatar

    Yeah, tax credit is ok but TDi is still relying on oil 100%.
    The Euro OEM’s got caught flat footed to by the hybrid craze that is the only reason they are touting Diesel’s.

    Diesels are their only answer against the hybrids.

  • avatar


    My diesel is relying on oil 1 percent.

    My local purveyor of B99 has been doing good business as the extra cost of Biodiesel vs. Petro has evaporated in the past few months. If VW certifies their vehicles for B99, then it truly is an answer to hybrids.

    Then again, my 240D’s warranty expired in 1975. Running biodiesel shouldn’t do too much to me. The Bosch retrofit electronic glow plug kit has reduced the visible smoke to almost zero.

    The two things it has oodles of are the “oodles of slow” and the diesel clatter that brettc likes so much.

  • avatar


    I see a flaw in your logic— why is the government less short sighted & corruptible than anyone else?

    we have a govt. program designed for the sole purpose of making corn farmers tons of money. It doesn’t help the environment, it won’t do anything significant to reduce our oil dependency. It’s causing starvation, food riots, and political unrest throughout the world.

    But they did it cause the farm states wanted some ethanol subsidies.

    So yeah, who regulates the regulators?

  • avatar


    My diesel is relying on oil ZERO percent. Unless you want to consider lubrication in the mix… but for forward motivation: 0%. Only bicycles and golf carts use less petroleum than I do.

    Keep eating those french fries!


  • avatar

    I got 46mpg in a Corolla last week. Where’s my tax credit?

  • avatar

    Re the EPA has revised the fuel economy reporting standards downward twice in the last few years,

    There are several federal mpg testing and reporting schemes used today; the window sticker test has become stricter, eg by running the AC and accelerating more realistically to realistic speeds,and has lowered the mpg reported on windowstickers. But the older test is still used for CAFE numbers.

  • avatar

    Never known the claimed mpg figures issued by a company to be accurate. In my experience they have always been inflated to con the public into buying”their” cars

  • avatar

    I find it absurd that you’re all against a $1300 credit by the government to get people into a fuel efficient car, but have no problem with imposing Euro-like taxes by the government to get people into a fuel efficient car.

    Apparently I’m on a site full of masochists.

  • avatar

    quasimondo, we oughtn’t be subsidizing dirty cars like the TDI. That’s the point. Hybrids are worth the subsidy because their emissions are so low.

  • avatar

    re: “…why is the government less short sighted & corruptible than anyone else? …who regulates the regulators?”
    toxicroach / July 29th, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    the government isn’t ‘less short-sighted or corruptible than anyone else’ – in fact, given all its power, influence and authority, government has the very real potential to be more short-sighted and corrupt – and therein lies a great problem. [but i don’t see any sort of flaw in logic]

    your second question gets right to the heart of the matter: “…who regulates the regulators?” and the answer to that question is intended to be: the people. the citizenry. the public. primarily through its selection and support of its representatives. unfortunately, for the vast majority of us, the people have fallen far short in this effort, especially lately. and so, we suffer the consequences as a direct result.

    the prescription for our troubles is quite simple to state and damn near impossible to ensure. but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be persistently trying with all our collective might. the prescription is political involvement – awareness, attentiveness and action as may be necessary – which of course includes the vote, but is certainly not limted to only that.

  • avatar

    M1EK: Diesels don’t deserve a tax credit because they’re dirty. More dirty than some gas-powered SUVs. Yes, even the clean diesel is just barely clean enough to be sold here – not clean enough to be worth giving preferential tax treatment to.

    I agree – let’s get all of those busses, trucks, and construction equipment off the road and out of commision! They are ruining the atmosphere!

    I lied – I’ll take my TDI as a wagon with a stick please…

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why so many people are complaining about the VW JETTA TDI tax credit. If you have test driven one, then why complain. I have a Blk Jetta 2006 TDI and it drives sweeeeet! I am a woman and I don’t know about cars, but my Jetta is real nice and it saves me money on gas. Why are people complaining about GM and their mess with asking the Government for Billions of dollars. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

    I will tell you this I love my VW JETTA TDI not because of the tax credit either, it’s because the car runs good and treat me well on the highways.

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