With gas prices approaching $4 a gallon in many states, interest and demand is increasing for fuel-efficient diesel vehicles, including certified pre-owned models from diesel leaders Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen.
The 2011 Mercedes E350 Bluetec has the highest demand among diesel vehicles on LeaseTrader.com, with search demand up 6.4 percent compared with January 2011. For domestic vehicles, Chevy and Ford diesel truck searches have increased in the same time period.
Today’s diesels are a far cry from the smelly, smoky, hard-to-start ones of the last gas ‘crisis’ in the 1970s.
Today’s diesel engines are clean burning, powerful — even turbocharged — and get better fuel efficiency per gallon than traditional gasoline engines of similar size. That’s why something like two-thirds of vehicles sold in Europe — where gasoline can cost $2 or more per liter, or as much as $10 a gallon — are fuel efficient diesels.
That makes diesels a cost effective alternative to hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles such as the award-winning 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended range hybrid, and the gasoline powered 40-plus MPG 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and 2011 Ford Fiesta. The VW Jetta TDI clean diesel was names Green Car of the Year a couple of years back at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
According to The Diesel Driver, a website offering data and analysis of diesel fuel insight, sales of diesel automobiles doubled in 2010.
In addition to the Chevy Cruze and Ford Fiesta, the top fuel efficient gas cars include the 2011 Honda Civic, Smart Fortwo, 2011 Ford Focus and 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
Even better, some of that sixpack of green cars cost less than $20,000.