The Truth About Clean Diesels: AdBlue Is Freaking Expensive

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Consumer Reports may have discovered why owners of clean diesel cars might feel a bit suicidal from time to time. They recently took a long-term tester Mercedes GL320 BlueTec clean diesel into the shop to have its urea-based AdBlue exhaust-scrubbing fluid refilled, and the results were… eye opening.

The total bill just for adding AdBlue? A stunning $316.99. We were down to 18% full on the additive at 16,566 miles. It took 7.5 gallons to fill the tank, costing an eye-opening $241.50 for the fluid alone. The labor to add the fluid plus tax accounted for the rest. None of this was covered by the warranty… At the current rate and cost of consumption, just the AdBlue itself (without the labor, which would probably be included as part of the routine service) would cost $1,457.80 for 100,000 miles of driving. That’s a lot of money, knocking about a third off of your fuel savings vs. buying a GL450 V8.

And you thought gas was expensive! From what we’ve been able to dig up, the $32/gallon price is a fairly typical price at Mercedes dealers. Are there any Mercedes or Audi clean diesel drivers in the house who can confirm?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • EcoHaulage EcoHaulage on Mar 08, 2012

    Hi, I actually work for a AdBlue company in the UK called EcoAdBlue. I can confirm that the pricing that customer had to pay for a refill of adblue was VERY expensive. We ship world wide in 200L drums and other containers for much cheaper. take a look at our site

  • Robmixon Robmixon on Apr 15, 2012

    Look up AdBlue on Google or anywhere and you will see that across Europe AdBlue is available at most gas stations just like diesel fuel from a pump. The US has to change government policies and recognize that the new diesel fuels are actually less polutive than gasoline and get much better mph. The regulations still make it less beneficial for automakers to produce diesel powered passenger vehicles. The cost at the dealer is ridiculous and just an example of them taking advantage of people not thinking it is available elsewhere. Just look around and I'm sure it can be ordered online in containers.

  • Brbroberts Brbroberts on May 18, 2013

    last time I was in Europe (Spain and Portugal, last week) AdBlue was .64 Euro per liter and it's sold from the gas pumps. I'm sure there hasn't been a huge change in pricing in the past year, so this article needs to be taken with the caveat that you'll get raped just as bad at the dealer if you have them fill your gas tank. Why anyone would go to the dealer to fill up AdBlue is beyond me...

  • Wheat Farmer Wheat Farmer on Feb 26, 2015

    We updated our Case New Holland combines last year and this is the first year with the DEF fluid. We fill the small tank about every third day and these machines seem to do a 16 hour day harvesting wheat without a fillip at 6pm. In fact after 16 hours of threshing we still have about 20 % of our diesel left. This is better than our other combines which were needing fuel by 6pm. (Same size fuel tank) It is a bit of a hassle to use the def but so far nothing that we can't handle. It seems that the diesel motor is tuned to be more efficient now which is fine by me. One question though. In what year did Volkswagen Tourag start having the Ad Blue.