By on March 24, 2015

2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline brown

Diesel hasn’t had the best reputation in the United States since the early 1980s. A new report says this attitude has changed as of late.

According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014. Total diesel registrations in 2014 came to 7.4 million vehicles. California, Massachusetts and Nevada lead the rest of the country in those registrations.

Greater fuel economy, cleaner diesel technology, and more vehicles with diesels — like the BMW X5, Volkswagen Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze — are helping to fuel the spike in registrations, despite diesel still being more expensive at the pump per gallon than regular gasoline.

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39 Comments on “Report: US New-Diesel Registrations On The Rise...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    “According to Edmunds, IHS Automotive found in its report for the Diesel Technology Forum a double-digit increase in U.S. new-diesel registrations, jumping 13.5 percent between 2013 and 2014 to 7.4 million vehicles.”

    There is no way that there were 7.4 million new diesels sold in the US last year. The 7.4 million must refer to total vehicle registrations, not new 2014 vehicles.

    HybridCars.com reports 2014 total new “clean diesel” car and SUV/CUV registrations of 138,174 units. (That figure does not include pickups.)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Gotta agree the number is off, I doubt there are 7.4 million non commercial trucks oil burners out there, when I bought my TDI wagon from VW in 2011, I think about one percent of all cars were oil burners, diesels cost more up front, you tend to get the premium back when you sell, I get a real world 42 MPG with my car and I am not driving for mileage, the 600 miles to a tank is wonderful as well. I am driving about 30k a year so it makes sense for me, but I doubt it does for most people when you factor in the up front premium and the cost of higher fuel vs gas. BTW I thought the cruz diesel was dead moving forward.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      @seth1065

      How has the reliability been? I’ve been considering a diesel Touareg for a loooong time, but I am too big of a wuss to spend $30k for fear of having it in the shop all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Mine has not been bad overall, I had one big bill but VW covered that ( and I was out of warranty ) I had a issue with my sunroof but not sure if that was driver error so I will not blame VW for that. I had a valve go on my AC the dealer wanted to replace the whole compressor but an indie did it for about $200 bucks, I was out of warranty within a year ( 3 year 36,000) so I left the dealer world pretty quick and found a good indie, little over 100, 000 miles on the car, has it been Honda reliable , no, we have a 05 pilot one $300 dollar repair and one battery in ten years outside of maintenance , but it has never left me on the side of the road, gets great mileage, is roomy and very good on 8 hours drive. The TDI’s hold their value but you pay more going in. VW does not deserve the tar and feathering they get here , the new ones are pretty stout. The car has held up very well for 100,000 miles still on my original brakes.

        • 0 avatar
          HerrKaLeun

          Did the VW dealer talk you into believing the sunroof flaw is user error?

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            No dealer invalid with that one, my daughter had the car and when it came back the sunroof was off track, she may have tried to open it and than close it by turning the knob the wrong way, not sure, I checked the boards it is not a common occurrence, a gear was broken , needed a new motor, I am giving them a pass because I am not sure how it happened, it could have been driver error and it is not a common known issue according to the boards. Even the indie I took it to said he had not seen it happen and he only works on TDI’s.

      • 0 avatar
        GTL

        I’ve put 36,000 on my ’13 Passat TDI with absolutely zero problems (knock on woodgrain). I average 42-45 mpg on my daily commute on Atlanta (so-called) freeways. I’ve gotten over 700 miles on a tank a few times.

        And I love the car; engaging to drive, comfortable and has a luxurious feel to the interior. Some observant car guy might notice the diesel clatter when it starts up, but most don’t and very few would seated inside the car.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        @tuffjuff

        Buying a TDI is a little like buying a Dow stock – chances are you’ll be fine but if you’re super risk-averse and are going to lose sleep worrying about it, don’t buy one.

        FWIW, I’m at 52K on a ’12 Golf, it’s been literally flawless so far and has met or exceeded all my expectations.

    • 0 avatar

      GM only confirmed that the current Cruze would carry forward as the “Cruze Limited” for fleet use, even after the new one debuted…and that the new Cruze would not have a diesel-powered variant here in the States. GM did not state whether or not the diesel would live on in the Cruze Limited, but I bet it won’t…since fleets aren’t likely to buy that version because it has little appeal as a rental or travel car versus a larger car with minimally-worse fuel economy.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Cruze diesel took a head shot, so going forward the, I dunno, 428 annual new registrations of those will fall off, skewing this already unfactual data downward by 18.9%.

    Either way, I am a fan of the oil burner. Love the torque and as someone who in the past, when I had my TDI drove a lot of miles just the fact I did not have to fill up every 350 miles vs every 600 was wonderful. If you drive 30k a year or more you find yourself spending a lot of time at gas stations, everyone’s favorite hang out..

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    And exactly 0 Mazda diesels…

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Wrong. Only fools buy diesels. How do I know? The Best and Brightest told me. You know, the crowd who also told me 400 horsepower Cadillacs are “underpowered.”

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not like we have a shortage of fools in this country. Someone did vote for Obama, didn’t they? That’s 40 million fools right there. If only half of them bought diesel cars…

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

        H. L. Mencken

        http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/858.html

      • 0 avatar

        Oh, dear. Well, McCain picked a total incompetent for his VP candidate, or he might have gotten my vote. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much choice in presidential elections.

        • 0 avatar
          dantes_inferno

          Any voter choosing between the Democrats and Republicans is like the Coyote (Road Runner Cartoons) choosing whether to plunge 1000 feet into the jagged rocks below or getting crushed by a giant boulder – neither outcome is a good one.

          Now can we please dispense with the politics and get back to discussing automobiles?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Stupid cheap lease deals are flooding the airwaves.

    A huge tidal wave of 2-3 year old cars is about to start crashing upon the “pre-owned” market place, and will continue to roll for years.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      DW not sure how many people lease a diesel, the upfront cost vs a gas one are higher as is fuel so if you looking at dollar vs dollar a short term 2-3 year lease esp with the miles they have ( about 12k a year) would favor the gas car 90% of the time. Oi burner folks tend to fall in 2 camps , at least the VW ones I see on the boards , buy and hold forever or folks like me that drive a ton and can not lease because of mileage.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        That’s a fair rebuttal, because I’d be surprised if many diesel equipped vehicles are leased compared to gassers.

        People that want a diesel are probably far more likely to purchase, rather than lease, such vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Looks like it’s already begun. I’m just starting to look for a car for my teenage daughter, so I pulled up a list of what 15,000 would buy on cats.com, and lots of nice, late model, low mileage stuff came up.

      For someone looking for a low total cost of ownership who can get financed, I think this is a much better deal than buying a 10 plus year old car and trying to keep it alive, as strong as the bottom of the market is now.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      DW That has been happening for a while now. Two years ago I picked up a CPO BMW 335d with just 34,000 miles for $28,000. With 425 ft lb @ 1700 rpm…..lets just say it has good pickup….;)

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Thanks to the Exon refinery fire here, diesel prices are actually lower than low octane gasoline here in California. That won’t last, though.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I was in the Bay area this weekend, the price of gas was like a flashback – I think I paid $3.79 to fill my rental a few miles from SFO.

      I’d still buy a diesel, just because I like them. Cost is largely irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Gasoline pricing in California is a dollar more per gallon than in Arizona, or anywhere’s else.

        When I drive to California, I usually top off at Quartszite with gas and fill four extra 5-gallon plastic gas cans. Since I started doing that, I cannot recall ever having to fill up in California to make it back out of state. There were times when I as running on fumes by the time I got back to Quartszite, but I got there alright.

        Of course, when you fly in and rent a car, you have no choice. If you have an expense account, it doesn’t come out of your pocket.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          highdesertcat, it sounds like your plan involves travelling with 20 gallons of gas in the trunk at least for a while. If the difference is a dollar a gallon – make it one and a half – you are saving $30. Is it worth it the risk of carrying that much gas and the time? I mean, I am implying it wouldn’t for me, not trying to criticize you.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Nick, not the trunk. Usually the bed of my 2011 Tundra.

            The last time I went I carried the four jugs on the Hitch-carrier load platform of my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee, all covered up with a tarp and tied down securely with loadmaster ratcheting straps.

            Several other times I went I carried the jugs on the Hitch-carrier load platform of our 2008 Highlander. I’ve been doing it for decades because gas is so much cheaper east of California.

            Even cars with California license plates carry extra gas back into California from out of state. Pretty common sight along I-10 and I-8.

            In my area, the Great Southwest, it is not uncommon for a pickup truck to have a 55-gallon drum or other auxiliary fuel tank mounted in the bed of the truck.

            In fact, when I still lived out in the desert, my American-born Mexican foreman used to bring me up to 200 gallons of PEMEX 91-octane pure-gas from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whenever he came up for a job. I’d buy from him whatever I could fit.

            I needed the gas for my AC generators and to resupply my two 55-gallon drums of gasoline I kept at my house to fuel all our vehicles. Nearest gas station was 26 miles away.

            And the PEMEX gas cost me between $1 and $2 American, versus whatever they charged north of the border. Pretty common practice around here, and most places along the border lands.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            For the sake of a buck a gallon I would never carry around gas cans like that. What happens if you get rear ended hard……instant inceneration

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          HDC, I sure hope you never get rearended! I am a tight SOB at times, but I cannot imagine going to that length to save a few bucks on gas. Gas isn’t even rounding error in the cost to operate a decent car.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I was walking down the sidewalk the other day and heard what I thought was a Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins behind me. Turned out to be a late model Jetta TDI. Those things may be efficient, but they’re really not quiet.

  • avatar
    amadorcarguy

    My dad replaced his 2010 Yukon Denali with a ’14 Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel and loves it, getting 24 mpg in town and around 30 on trips to LA. He would have bought another Yukon Denali, but GM doesn’t offer a 1/2 ton diesel (stupid). My business just purchased a 2015 Dodge RAM 1500 (I refuse to say RAM only) EcoDiesel and it is getting 21 mpg in city driving and about 26 on the highway. The EcoDiesel has a bit of diesel clatter at idle, but is relatively quiet. Most people can’t even tell a diesel engine is in either vehicle. And yes, I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California – gas has just dropped from 3.15 to 2.93 in my town and diesel is once again just slightly higher than gas (3.07).

  • avatar
    KevinC

    My girl had an ’09 Jetta TDI, DSG tranny, for 85k miles, and it was quite reliable, other than a very early turbo replacement (~10k). The only other things that were troublesome were batteries (hey, it’s Arizona) and light bulbs. She traded it in late last year on a ’15 Golf TDI, and went manual this time, first manual she’s owned. VW kindly offers the xenon lighting package as a standalone option, and I convinced her it was a must-have. All in all a REALLY nice car for just over $27k list, mid trim level (SE).

    BTW, for any of you thinking about buying a VW (any VW except the Golf R currently qualifies), check to see if your employer is a member of their partner program. If so, you get pricing at $500 BELOW INVOICE price. It’s quite a long list, including a bunch of banks, OEM suppliers, Lexmark, Motorola, etc etc. It’s a smokin’ deal if you qualify. List of partners here:

    http://vwpartnerprogram.com/vw/partner/program/supplierslist

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > early turbo replacement (~10k).

      Car dealers time and again fail to inform perspective buyers that there is a break-in procedure for a turbo (especially the critical turbo bearing) – usually low-to-moderate rpm operation for the first 750-1000 miles. Of course, since the service department is the cash cow at most dealerships, that little detail tends to get “overlooked” by the sales representative.

      I suspect that many new car purchasers have a tendency to apply a heavy dose of lead foot when leaving the dealer’s lot – which doesn’t bode well for a turbo’s life expectancy right from the get-go.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I have a 2012 Jetta wagon tdi and a BMW 335d. They are both great cars. On a recent road trip we were on the mostly abandoned US95 traveling from Boise to Carson City. I set the cruise at 100 mph for hours. Still got 30 mpg

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    Diesel is a horrible idea, it forms far more smog than gasoline despite creating less CO2, but moreover the particular matter it spews out is way, way, worse for human health. If we actually adopted lots of diesel cars we’d end up having to ban cars like Paris is now doing.

    Please see: http://www.nature.com/news/2004/040202/full/news040202-13.html
    http://www.nypirg.org/enviro/air/diesel/
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-14152045
    http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-france-paris-smog-20150323-story.html#page=1

    If you want the US to end up a crappy smogged up hellhole where people have more heart attacks, strokes, and asthma attacks then diesel is a great idea. For people who don’t want to live in an unhealthy smogged up craphole, there’s turbos and now electric motors to provide just as much low end torque as any diesel motor would, without destroying the air quality.

    This auto enthusiast obsession with diesel has to stop, it’s idiotic, and extra idiotic in a country where diesel prices are higher than gasoline and the diesel vehicles cost thousands more than gasoline counterparts that are often faster.

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