Originally Posted by Jon in AZ
Age & maintenance? I've driven behind some pretty foul-smelling gasoline-powered vehicles, too.
As to why they aren't more popular... higher purchase cost, higher maintenance costs, higher fuel prices? The math seems like it would only make sense for people who do a lot of heavy towing or long-distance miles.
The diesel fuel pump went out on my friend's daughter's VW TDI: $3000.
Totally agree with that first statement, poorly maintained gas vehicle can be really bad smelling too.
The VW reference would be similar even for their gas powered vehicles. While they do make some great vehicles, the maintenance costs are out of this world, with parts many, many times that of domestic or even Asian vehicles. My brother, and one close friend, each had VW Passat Wagons, and though they liked almost everything about them, due to the ridiculously high maintenance costs, and poor service and backup from VW, have both sworn to never buy another one. I have heard this sentiment from others too.
I have had a diesel pickup for 25 years now, from the first Dodge Ram that had the Cummins, to my last 3 Fords. These have been work trucks, and I have really appreciated the power for towing heavy trailers. The first two Fords had the Power Stroke, a late model "94, and a 2002. This was a great engine, a bit on the noisy side, and did smell pretty bad when first fired up, but once the engine was warmed, the smell disappeared. My 2012 F-350 has next to no odour at all from the exhaust, as is really quiet (for a diesel). The use of the DEF has made a huge difference, though is a bit of a pain to keep putting in, especially putting on lots of city miles, where lots of exhaust cleaning needs to be done.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an emissions control liquid required by modern diesel engines with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology. It is a non-hazardous solution of 32.5% urea in 67.5% de-ionized water. DEF is used with SCR technology to remove harmful Nitrogen Oxide emissions from diesel engines.
Diesel costs more because of the high demand for it, driven not by the consumer market, but the use by all the ships, farm equipment, military, trains, industrial and construction equipment, large trucks, etc. I still yearn for the days when it was a lot cheaper than gasoline, but I fear we will never see that again.
I believe that there is a fairly close trade off in purchase and maintenance costs, to the fact that diesel engines generally last way longer, and in my experience have required less maintenance. Besides, I have liked having the smooth, strong towing power they offered.
When I retire, and will sell my big diesel, if I could find the right SMALL diesel pickup/SUV to tow my FG trailer, I would be strongly considering it.