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  1. #1

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I am a proud owner of a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid. I know that diesels are also popular. But, why are diesels gaining popularity when in my state (Ohio), where diesel fuel is actually more $/gal (sometimes +25cents/gal) than premium (93/94 octane) gasoline.

    What I'm asking is why have a car that gets less MPG on more expensive diesel fuel (I read the VW Jetta TDi gets 38MPG), while a hybrid (such as my HCH) gets higher MPG on less expensive gasoline fuel (48/47MPG on 87 octane).

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  3. #2

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    hi there,
    im a student from malaysia..

    recently,im doing a research about this hybrid car and its technology..so..
    can u give some explanation about hybrid technology..

    hope 2 hear from u soon..

  4. #3

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Aaron, diesel price fluctuates too much for your arguement to have much significance. Right now, Diesel is less than 87 reg unleaded in my area, and has remained below the cost of regular for awhile.

    As far as the question of why go diesel VW TIDi instead of Hybrid:

    1. More fun car to own, plenty of power

    2. Don't have to drop between $2000 - $3000 every 60,000 - 75,000 miles or so (correct me on the service interval for the battery pack if wrong) to have the battery pack replaced.

    3. Very durable engine-- 400,000 mile engine lifetime on avg, durability is among the reasons semi-truck rigs are powered by turbo-diesels.

    4. Less differential cost above the price of same model with gasoline engine, i.e. only a thousand or so $$ more than same VW equipped w/ gas engine, whereas hybrids generally command $4000 to as much as $6000 above the sticker cost of equivalent gasoline model in same brand.

    5. Lower maintenance costs (see #2) over lifetime of vehicle.

    6. Ability to burn sustainable & renewable alternative fuels (bio-diesel, SVO, and WVO), fuels which further lower the greenhouse gas emissions of a diesel below that of similar size gasoline engine, mile for mile.

  5. #4

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    1. Better MPG. Better MPG. Better MPG.
    2. If they ever develop a plugin for hybrid
    even better MPG.
    3. Diesel is dirty. Unless you use biodiesel then
    you pay 1.00 or so more per gallon? Are you
    sure you going to do this?

  6. #5

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Re:2. Don't have to drop between $2000 - $3000 every 60,000 - 75,000 miles or so (correct me on the service interval for the battery pack if wrong) to have the battery pack replaced.

    Most hybrids have a warranty on the battery in the case of Honda Civic it's 80,000 or 8 yrs. If this is the case with most companies, no one has every paid one cent for any problem with there battery unless some how they voided there warranty. Most battery life should be well over 100,000 miles. However there is a annual maintence check that may or may not incur a fee, depends on your dealership.

    Where I live diesel is 0-10 cent higher 92 octane unleaded.

  7. #6

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I guess the prices of Diesel fuel depend on location. However, bio-diesel is an interesting alternative it seems like. Thank you

  8. #7

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    **SIGH** The misinformation continues unabated. The Prius traction (main) battery has no "Service Interval." It is fully warranted, together with the othre hybrid drive elements, for 8 yrs/100,000 miles (10yrs/150,000 miles in California) and is designed to last the life of the car. the main battery leads an "easy life" never being fully charged or fully discharged and is NiMh (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) fully recyclable and providing no environmental hazards. When making comparisons, be sure you check on the facts before making statements.

  9. #8

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Hybrid cars are not for everyone. For someone who drives very long highway distances, where regenerative braking is of little use, diesels make more sense.

    Also, from an economic standpoint, there can be little justification for spending $7000 or more on, say, a hybrid Civic vs. a non-hybrid. There's no way that a $7000 hit will be recovered within the normal economic service life of the average driver. And a non-hybrid is still emissions friendly, being an ULEV vehicle. Our Passat TDI cost $500 more than the equivalent gas model; our Jetta wagon was approx. $1500 more. Not only is it easy to recoup the premium in fuel savings, but the TDI has outstanding resale value.

    As for diesels being "dirty", the misinformation continues unabated. Diesels do very well at reducing greenhouse emissions. Diesel fuel also consumes less energy in the refining process, than gasoline. Where I live, diesel can be 10 cents more expensive in the winter (per liter) but typically is 10 cents less expensive in the summer. I can average 40 mpg in my daily commute with an automatic Passat with a 134 hp engine that puts out a phenomenal 247 lb-ft of torque at 1900 rpm (yes, I know electric motors are good at torque as well).

    With our Jetta wagon, we can average 50+ mpg on the highway at *normal* driving speeds, driving in a normal manner.

    I was just in "dirty" Europe last week where 50% of new vehicle sales are "dirty" diesels. I guess those "dirty" Europeans don't know squat about cars...

    Mike G.

  10. #9

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I agree that hybrid cars are not for everyone, but not for the reason for whether they drive highway or city driving. For example, in the Prius a person can get better mileage in city (60mpg) than on the highway (50mpg). The highway mpg is still as good as or better than the best diesels. Regenerative braking is not the only mechanism by which hybrids recoup energy.

    In terms of economic standpoint, the differences between hybrid and non-hybrid is less than $7K, at most like $4K. Granted, this still may or may not make economic sense, depending on your driving habits and how much gas goes up.

    When talking about non-hybrid being emissions friendly, they can be. But why settle for ULEV when you can get SULEV?

    The diesels are considered dirty by some because of the increased particulate emissions and increased NO. The topic of which is cleaner from the factory is a whole other debate.

    As you mentioned, electric motors are good for torque (295 lb-ft at 0-1200 rpm in the Prius).

    In terms of depreciation, can you get any better than a Toyota or Honda? I only mention them because they have 5 of the 6 hybrids. I hear that even the FEH is holding up it's value well too.

    The mileage listed above are from my actual experience, not just the EPA estimates. The highway estimate is actually instead at 70-75 with a/c and a loaded car. Mileage on a highway at normal speeds with probably be closer to 55 mpg.

  11. #10

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Mike G.,

    A couple of points. I think referring to a $7,000 hybrid premium is a bit outlandish. Honda is not adding $7k to the hybrid that I am aware of.

    Also, Europe uses a different (cleaner) type of diesel fuel. I think European diesel is around 15ppm sulfur, where it is more like 500ppm in the US....although that is supposed to be changing. So, you could easily argue that at the moment, diesels in the US are quite "dirty".

    Overall, I think a combination of hybrid and clean diesel technology is the way to go. I have heard of some European diesel hybrids getting near 100mpg.

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