View Full Version : What happened to diesel fuel prices?

01-25-2013, 04:56 PM
I know a lot of diesel fans out there on this forum, so though I'd get the bottom line here.

I'd just convinced myself to look for a diesel for the next DD and checked the cost of the two stations near my house that sell diesel and was shocked to see the price was a full $.90/gal higher than regular.

Now I don't usually look at diesel prices, but looking back at older articles people talk about the price being a 'tad' higher than gas since the 70's and 80's when it was lower. It's still lower than gas in Europe apparently.

The 30+% uplift completely cancels out the better mileage, and then some. So is this something that is a temporary phenomenon, a local one, or is it a longer term trend I missed?

01-25-2013, 05:55 PM
From what I have heard, worldwide demand is pretty solid for diesel and the price varies little these days. I doubt it has any reason to go down much. Sorta takes all the fun out of speculating about a TDI VW, and makes filling up the PowerStroke less fun, too.

In some European countries, it's subsidized, but that may change:


Here's something about the high price:

One of the best explanations can be found within the pages of the Energy Information Administration web site:

"Historically, the average price of diesel fuel used in motor vehicles has been lower than the price of regular gasoline. However, this is not always the case. In some winters where the demand for distillate heating oil is high, the price of diesel fuel has risen above the gasoline price. Since September 2004, the price of diesel fuel has been generally higher than the price of regular gasoline all year round for several reasons:

High worldwide demand for diesel fuel and other distillate fuel oils, especially in Europe, China and the U.S. and a tight global refining capacity available to meet demand.
The transition to low-sulfur diesel fuel in the U.S., which is affecting diesel fuel production and distribution costs.
The Federal excise tax on diesel fuel is 6 cents per gallon higher (at 24.4 cents/gallon) than the tax on gasoline."

01-25-2013, 06:02 PM
We made it to memphis this winter (1200 miles) with only one fill up on Allison's '06 Jetta TDI. Fully loaded and going 75-80 the whole way. One stint at 100+ for a while where it was pretty wide open. We got 43MPG calculated wit GPS and all.

It's quick too (chipped).

I like the power and the economy.

No idea what a gas vehicle would have done in the same conditions.. maybe half the mileage?

On the way back we were tracking similar mileage in the Jetta and I was following in a subaru (2000 Legacy) struggling to get like 20mpg. We were pushing pretty hard but still, the jetta was getting decen mileage.

Not sure if diesel tow rigs double mileage over gas counterparts but I bet they get close. That's not the only attraction though... diesels seem easier to drive and work less hard to do the same stuff... kinda translates to less stressful driving IMHOP.

01-25-2013, 06:10 PM
Actaully I was looking at the Mazda CX-5 with there being some rumours it may be availible in the summer with the turbo diesel. The gas version gets 32mpg with AWD. To be comperable, the diesel would have to score about ~43 given the third higher cost of the fuel, setting everything else aside.

I could wait till summer to get the diesel (if it's really coming out), and I agree it may well be better than the gas engine on many counts, but fuel economy doesn't sound like one of them. Kind of takes the desire to wait off the table when I'm otherwise ready to buy now.

01-25-2013, 06:29 PM
Generally speaking the PM on a diesel is higher.

Personally if a vehicle I liked was offered with a diesel state side I'd buy it just on how a diesel drives, especially in the mountains. I wish Toyota would leave the hybrid to stuff with unibodies and slam a diesel in everything with a ladder frame. I be signing up for a new rig now if that happened.

Jenny Cruiser
01-26-2013, 10:05 PM
I love diesels. Cruise all day long at triple digits and still get great mileage. Diesel is significantly less expensive in Europe. The US seems to be the only place where it isn't. This was my most memorable moment in a diesel hoopty :o

01-28-2013, 11:56 AM
If you are worried about 30% higher fuel costs you will save a good deal more by NOT buying new... ???

01-28-2013, 12:02 PM
Except I want the next vehical purchase to carry me for the next 10+ years, into retirement.

01-28-2013, 02:22 PM
The current dip in gasoline prices likely won't last long. I've heard it's mostly due to low demand and too much produced. It should be back to more than diesel before Spring.

01-28-2013, 04:45 PM
I started my career in biodiesel and know a bit about fuels and US regulations. The most important thing in the list above in the second post is the low-sulfur requirements. The other really big thing is the oil company profits. If you do the math you'll see that the price delta almost exactly coincides with the economy delta. That's by design so that you, the consumer, are effectively paying the same per mile. Your pain threshold for $/mile is one of those things that's studied very closely along the same lines as what 18-24 year old males watch on television.

01-28-2013, 05:15 PM
Gas prices went up already, 30 cents from Wednesday to Saturday night at our Safeway.

If you are looking for just for MPG in your car then you can find cars that will net you 40+mpg. Now you added the fact that you want it to last 10+ years too that changes things a little. Do you know how many miles you plan on driving it per year?

Either way if you do end up looking at a diesel remember to factor in all the costs. The biggest one is the initial cost of the engine upgrade. In the new truck world you can count on a $6000 bump when going from gas to diesel. If I recall right when looking at the VW Passat a few years ago the upgrade ran about $2500, so you have to add that to your cost per mile. If you are planning to keep the car for 10 years then you should recoup that cost.

Also as Corbet mentioned the PM can be costlier. Engine holds more oil, fuel filter needs to be replaced more often, injectors can clog easier than gas ones. Also the parts tend to be more expensive.

Not trying to talk you out of buying one, I would buy a diesel car now if I had the chance. I do have a diesel truck that I used as my DD until we bought the Mini last month, saving us about $300 a month in fuel.

Have you put the numbers down on paper yet? once you do that you will have your answer.

Enjoy the ride

Air Randy
01-28-2013, 05:39 PM
Also as Corbet mentioned the PM can be costlier.

Not as much as in the past though. Dee's ML320 has a V-6 CDI diesel. The oil capacity on it is only 2 qts more than the gas version, and just like the gas version the oil changes are done at 15K intervals. It has 100K miles on it and other than routine oil/filter stuff the only other cost has been replacing a cam position sensor which was $100.

If you are deciding purely on the cost/benefit analysis, get a gasoline rig. Regular gas will always be cheaper, the up front purchase price is less and they are easier to get serviced reliably at more locations.

But if you want better performance at elevation, especially if you will ever tow with the rig, I would go diesel.

02-01-2013, 07:19 PM
Well I drove home a Certified Pre-owned 2012 Turbo Diesel Jetta tonight. It may not be cheaper overall than a regular gas vehicle, but it sure is a fun ride and it was a good deal overall for me. I'm looking forward to seeing how many miles I can get out of a tank on this pricey new diesel...

02-02-2013, 11:27 AM
Awesome you are going to love that car! We test drove one and I fell in love but could just not swing the price, we had a trade and could not get together on a price.

Enjoy the ride and keep us posted on your CPM and MPG

02-02-2013, 07:10 PM
This TDI jetta is kind of spooky. I drove it all day and the fuel gage !finally! dropped one division at the end of the day. I was beginning to think it was broke. Corners almost like my vette. Not so much on accleration, but it really is a little rocket for what's under the hood. So far very, very happy with this little turbo diesel...

02-03-2013, 06:49 PM
Auto or manual?

Get it chipped. That was the best money we ever spent on a car.

Check this guy out, he was great to work with.

02-03-2013, 07:56 PM
Love my TDI. I love the power in the hills and a fuel miser.

you'll get used to the gas gauge :D. I fill up every two weeks.

Pm might be costlier on a Truck but not my little VW. I've only ever changed the oil replaced a couple glow plugs, timing belt, brakes once. I like the $ of tires and other maint items

02-04-2013, 02:48 PM
Auto or manual?

Get it chipped. That was the best money we ever spent on a car.

Check this guy out, he was great to work with.

Auto. Not going to chip it. Got started down that path with the vette and never stopped. This car is my new DD.

02-07-2013, 05:12 PM
Diesel Cruze aimed at the Jetta buyers


02-07-2013, 07:01 PM
Looks like it has that AdBlue urea tank in the trunk. No thanks...

02-07-2013, 07:13 PM
Auto. Not going to chip it. Got started down that path with the vette and never stopped. This car is my new DD.

I've built lots of fast cars of a variety of flavors and this is Al's daily...

Stock everything except for the tune, it is mild but adds the extra kick it needs. turbo diesels were built for chipping. :D

you'll love it stock too :)

My folks have an auto of the same vintage as ours and mileage is a notable bit lower. it'll be interesting to see what yours gives. The only thing i wish for sometimes is that we'd gotten a wagon. I think you'll really dig it.

Handling - I actually like the way our handles in normal city driving, it's very fun and corners pretty well. Snow tires and going fast on I-70 is another thing though :rolleyes: it does muuch better with nice summer tires :)

02-07-2013, 07:23 PM
Well aside from the fact that I want to avoid issues with my warrenty, I just dropped $1800 on the RNS510 nav system, so I pretty much blew my goodie budget for this month. It'll be fine as is, drives great and mileage looks to be great. This is my first full tank I just put in so we'll see in another 500-600 miles how well I really do.

02-08-2013, 12:06 PM
$1800 is your goodie budget for a month??!? :eek:

Did I tell you my birthday is coming up?? :rolleyes: :lmao:

02-19-2013, 06:27 PM
My folks have an auto of the same vintage as ours and mileage is a notable bit lower. it'll be interesting to see what yours gives.

The verdict is in, I got 500 miles on 13 gallons for 43mpg combined. That was driving "spirited". I'm going to cool it on the next tank and see what it gets driving like on old lady...

Does your "chip" guy use a VAG-COM setup to program? My new Nav unit has no sound or bluetooth due to programming issues and I'm going crazy trying to find someone with the capability to do aftermarket programing.