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  1. #31

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I just had to offer my $.02 to this discussion. I purchased a used 2003 Civic Hybrid with 50000 km on it two months ago, just in time for the high gas prices in Ontario, Canada. I simply love the car so far. The hybrid is loaded with features and is much quieter than the regular Civic. My gas mileage over the almost 2000 km is 5.6 l/100 km. My best was 3.9 on a 120 km highway trip. I normally drive about 1/4 highway and 3/4 city driving and usually get less than 5.3 l/100 km. However, I have a 17 year old daughter with a heavy foot.
    Am I concerned about the battery costs at 160000 km - sure I am. But I think the price will be lower at that time and I know it is a solid car.

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  3. #32

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    From what I've seen of the Black Book prices for the Civic Hybrid, it could very well be that buying used is much better value than buying new. Last time I checked, for Canadian prices, a Civic hybrid was considerably cheaper than a Jetta TDI of the same year/mileage.

    Our driving mix is about the opposite of yours: 1/4 city, 3/4 highway, and our Jetta TDI gets almost exactly the same mileage, 5-5.3 l/100 km. On the highway it can see as high as 4.6 if not driven aggressively.

    Tell your daughter to lighten up on the foot. Diesel or hybrid, doesn't matter, a heavy foot costs $.

  4. #33

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Hello Mike:
    While diesel enthusiasts like to repeat the popular myth that diesel autos last longer than a good quality gas car, let's look at the facts.

    I think used car listings can be a good reference in life expectancy. Here's a popular used car media- Auto Trader:


    Search for Used Volkswagen, all models, 1981-2005, Within any distance. (Nationwide)

    152K is the highest mileage VW listed.
    3 VW's with over 150K
    13 VW's with over 100K
    All the rest have under 100K.

    Let's do the same search for Toyota:

    312K is the highest mileage Toyota.
    12 Toyota's with over 200K
    EIGHTEEN PAGES of cars 100-200K miles.

    How about Honda?
    290K is the highest Honda mileage.
    16 Hondas over 200K
    SIXTEEN PAGES of cars 100-200K miles.

    How about searching Dodge?
    321K is the highest Dodge mileage.
    20 Dodge's over 200K.
    TWENTY ONE PAGES of Dodge's 100-200K miles.

    How about Mercedes?
    430K one Mercedes listed.
    3 Mercedes over 300K
    3 Mercedes 200-300K miles.
    6 Pages in the 100-200K mile range.

    Looks like Toyota, then Honda, then Dodge comes out well ahead with VW not even in the playing field. Mercedes had the highest mileage single vehicle but the number of vehicles with high mileage were drastically lower than the gasoline cars.
    I didn't do any searches on other MFG's, but I think the result would be similar.

    I think I've proved my point, that the typical diesel autos don't last nearly as long as gasoline cars.

    If you rode in a Mercedes diesel that had over 250K miles the owner can be very proud because he must have been taken very good care, but by far is not typical.

    You mentioned maintenance and timing belts- Many gasoline cars use a real metal chain, including my Honda Civic Hybrid.
    Chains last much longer than belts.

    If one were to include repair with maintenance VW has a horrible track record:


    Any dispute that VW has a terrible record in quality and reliability can be googled, and the endless sea of complaints are too numerous to list here.

  5. #34

    Hybrid or Diesel?


    Well, do you think the durability of the vehicles listed has to do with the type of engine they have, or the quality of the car made by the manufacturer? Honda, Toyota, etc are known for making excellent cars....and they do not make diesels (for the most part). VW is the primary diesel manufacturer in the US, and their quality is iffy at best.

    So, I think diesels have a promising future with the lower sulfur fuels, higher mpg, etc. But I know that my wife and I never got too serious about a VW b/c of the reliability issue. We love the styling and the ride (and my wife digs the "feel" of owning a VW), but the reliability ratings just stink.

  6. #35

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    Elliot you make a good point, but I'd bet the same results would be had researching used GM and Ford?

    I haven't ever owned a Mercedes but they have a nice luxury diesel lineup.

    I too was suprised to see so few older ones listed as Mercedes is synonomous with luxury and quality, but it seems the other gasoline manufacturers still beat them out for life expectancy.

  7. #36

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    before any of you start looking for something for free...check this out...Remenber if it seems to good to be true,,,,,guess waht - it probably is:

    Ad attacks Toyota's record

    Environmental group questions efficiency

    October 24, 2005


    "Is Toyota a wolf in sheep's clothing?"

    That's what a stinging national ad campaign against Toyota Motor Corp., launched today by a San
    Francisco-based environmental group, suggests. The ad is to run in Mother Jones online today and
    be printed soon in full-page ads in the New York Times and other publications.

    Created by the Bluewater Network, a nonprofit organization that fights for clean air and water,
    the ads against Toyota are thought to be the first ever to attack a Japanese automaker on its
    environmental record in the United States.

    Bluewater says Toyota's hybrids aren't as efficient as their non-hybrid versions and questions why
    the automaker is fighting tougher standards on fuel economy and emissions. They also note that
    while Toyota's overall fuel economy is the best in the industry, it is worse than it was 20 years
    ago, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Toyota spokeswoman Nancy Hubbell said the automaker is disappointed by the campaign.

    "Toyota is definitely the environmental leader, and we're extremely surprised," she said.

    Bluewater is the same environmental group that launched a personal ad campaign against Ford Motor
    Co. last year, portraying Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford as Pinocchio and
    challenging the automaker's record on environmental issues.

    Those ads, according to Bluewater, were largely a consequence of Ford portraying himself as an
    environmentalist, making promises and not keeping them.

    Now, Bluewater is taking on Toyota.

    "We don't enjoy playing the truth squad," Danielle Fugere, director of climate change at
    Bluewater, said. "But when the auto industry misleads the public, whether intentionally or not,
    someone's got to set the record straight."

    The ads against Toyota are likely to be heralded by Detroit automakers, which have been crying
    foul for years now over Toyota's seemingly bulletproof image with consumers as the environmentally
    friendly automaker.

    Toyota makes one-third of the hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles sold in the United States and has
    consequently benefited from Earth-friendly buzz -- even getting A-list celebrities to arrive at
    the Academy Awards in hybrid Prius compact cars as an environmentally conscious fashion statement.

    But Bluewater's ads, which were obtained by the Free Press last week, show Toyota CEO Katsuaki
    Watanabe in the foreground and a man wearing a wolf head in the background. The ads list a series
    of concerns about Toyota.

    Foremost, the group questions why Toyota's newest hybrids don't get much better fuel economy than
    their non-hybrid versions.

    The hybrid version of the Highlander got only 20.6 miles per gallon in a week-long test drive this
    year on a range of driving conditions by Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan. The EPA rating shows
    the vehicle gets 33 m.p.g. city/28 m.p.g. highway in federal tests. The non-hybrid Highlander,
    meanwhile, was rated 19 m.p.g. city/25 m.p.g. highway by the EPA -- much closer to the actual
    results in the hybrid.

    Other journalists have found similar results, Bluewater notes in its ad, calling the Highlander
    and Lexus RX 400h "gas guzzlers with no better fuel economy than their non-hybrid versions."

    "If this is the precedent for Toyota's future hybrids, that will be bad news for global warming
    and our dependence on foreign oil," the ad says.

    Hubbell of Toyota defended the company's hybrid vehicles, saying they are more efficient than
    their gasoline counterparts. What's more, she said they are 80% cleaner in emissions.

    Bluewater also asks why Toyota is working with other automakers to resist federal efforts to raise
    national fuel mileage standards and suing to block California's proposed regulations to reduce
    smog and greenhouse gas pollution.

    Hubbell said Toyota is lobbying for regulations that are "rational and national," to avoid a
    patchwork system of standards "that would be a nightmare" to comply with for manufacturers.

    The ads also note that the average fuel mileage of Toyota vehicles is worse today than it was 20
    years ago, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2005 Fuel Economy Trends
    report. In 2005, Toyota's fleet averaged 27.5 miles per gallon, the highest among manufacturers.
    But the company performed better in 1985, with its fleet averaging 30.0 miles per gallon, the EPA
    report shows.

    While Toyota has a stable of fuel-efficient cars, including the hybrid Prius, it also makes the
    Land Cruiser SUV (17 m.p.g. on the highway); Sequoia SUV (18 m.p.g.); 4Runner SUV (21 m.p.g.), and
    Tundra Double Cab (18 m.p.g.). Those vehicles have helped lower Toyota's overall fuel economy.

    "Toyota has a lot of explaining to do," Bluewater's ads say. "We thought Toyota cared about the
    environment. ... Is this the same company that brought us the hybrid Prius, claiming to be an
    environmental leader?"

    The ads provide Toyota's telephone number and encourage consumers to call and ask Toyota to "build
    more fuel-efficient cars and end Toyota's opposition to critical U.S. environmental policies."

    Contact SARAH A. WEBSTER at 313-222-5394 or swebster@freepress.com.

  8. #37

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I'm not suprised by that publication, it is among the parade of many.

    Alot of folks are averaging about 26MPG in thier highlander hybrid http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/m...lander2wd.html
    the range is 20-30MPG.

    while people are getting about 18 in the non-hybrid version:

  9. #38

    Hybrid or Diesel?


    Please don't litter this site with this huge post too many times. Twice on the mini-van thread and once here is way more than that trash deserves. I commented on the mini-van thread in case anyone is interested. Personally, I wouldn't want my friends to see my name associated with supporting that kind of trash and you've done so 3 times (that I've read thus far).

    Now, back on the diesel topic:

    Clearly a diesel hybrid is a great choice to look at.

    - the diesel is at its worst during startup while the electric is at its best during startup.
    - the diesel is great a constant RPM, during which time it is quite clean and efficient. Using the electric to handle the surges should enable the diesel to be quite cheap yet retain its efficiency.

    This should be a marriage made in heaven. Its too bad there seems to be so many lovers of diesels who seem to feel like they have to hate hybrids. After-all, the grandest of the diesels (diesel locomotives) have been hybrid diesel-electrics for over half a century.

    All you diesel afficianados are quite right about your understanding of the diesel. Now, let's work on your understanding of the hybrid and you can see a real winner.

    Remember that the torque, power, and efficiency curves for an electric is pretty flat over shaft speed (RPM's) up to an upper RPM limit. An ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) must have the RPM's specified with the power, torque, and efficiency, or it is meaningful. This is because at slow speeds and very high speeds, an ICE works very poorly. The transmission makes up for some of this and clearly technology has come a long way to improve these but we still lose a lot of efficiency just in the transmission as well.

    This means that the electric motor works well at all speeds, even at startup, without the need for gears or a transmission but an ICE is running way outside it's 'power band' when starting up.

    Another advantage of the electric motor is that it is 80% - 90% efficient at converting stored energy (electricity) into mechanical energy, while even the best ICE are only in the low 20% range.

    Now, I'll digress with a harsh reality of the battery electric: Energy storage. A gasoline (diesel too) tank and ICE carry over 10 times as much energy as the same weight (mass) of even the best batteries known today. This is why getting good range from a pure electric vehicle is such a challenge.

    This is why, despite the fact that it is over 60% less efficient, a diesel powered vehicle has so much range, compared with a battery powered vehicle.

    Now, suppose you could marry these two kinds of propulsion.

    - Keep the diesel only running at it's most efficient RPM's so you get the best out of it.
    - Use the electric motor to handle the connection with the road, where different speeds and torques are needed depending on the road and traffic condition.
    - Your combined electric and ICE power will set your maximum acceleration (note that using the electric for acceleration actually does not hurt your gas mileage as much as pure ICE would, even with fast starts) and hill climbing speed.
    - Your combined electric + ICE range will set your total range between fueling.

    - Add to this the fact that the hybrid can capture the braking energy through regenerative braking.

    . . . and you have a pretty good piece of machinery.

    Of course, in reality, modern, efficient batteries can actually provide more than 200 miles of range on a vehicle between charging and fast charging can enable one to charge such a vehicle in 10 - 15 minutes, thus obviating the need for the ICE (gasoline or diesel). But that's more of a step than most people are willing to take so I'm ok with looking at hybrids for now. I just wish someone would make a nice diesel one :-(

  10. #39

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I just caught up on all the posts and have a response about longevity of gas engines verse diesel engines. Quality diesel autos, not the junk GM passed off as diesel cars 20 years ago, but vehicles like Mercedes, Volkswagen or some of the Nissan diesels of a few years ago or the new diesels offered in North America have a much longer average life span than gas cars.

    Iím not going to argue this point back and forth. It is a mater of material science. Diesel engines have to be much heavier by nature. The compression ratio typically for a diesel is usually between 18/1 to 22/1. You will not find and aluminum diesel, they donít make them. They have cast iron blocks and have much heavier bearings, rods, etc. Also, new diesels do not have injector pumps; they use a common rail system which is mush less failure prone. Also, because of the heavy construction of the engine a diesel has a break in period or 25,000 to 40,000 miles.

    30% of all autos in Europe are diesel, 50% in Italy. The Europeans drive cars a lot longer than we do. If diesels had a short life in comparison to gas burners then the diesel experiment would have already failed in Europe.

    Right now Daimler-Chrysler offers most of the cars you can buy in the US as a diesel in Europe. You can by every Jeep brand as a diesel as well as the Dodge Caravans and even the Chrysler 300. They will be available in the US in the next few years.

    Many of the people I interface with at my firm are in Europe. Many of them have diesel cars and love them. Most of them have many thousands of kilometers on them with no problems. I asked an associate in Finland why he drove a diesel and he gave me three reasons. One, they get between 30% and 50% better economy than a gas burner. Two, they burn Bio-Diesel which is home grown and has very low emissions. And three, diesels autos last vastly longer than gasoline cars. He did not want to be buying a new car anytime in the near future as cars are very expensive in Europe (In Finland there is a 100% tax on any auto with an engine larger than 1.99 liters).

    Diesels are naturally more efficient engines. Look it up in your physics book. Gas and diesel engines use two different cycles. The one a diesel uses is more efficient as it burns more of the fuel and gets more power from the fuel burned.

    Another reason to conceder diesel over gas is the availability of alternative home grown bio-fuels. Here in the upstate of South Carolina BD20 (20% Bio) is available. There is no decrease in the mileage or performance running the Bio-Diesel. When running Bio the smell is much reduced and the pollutants are reduced. Bio is also about 20 cents a gallon cheaper. My wifeís Jeep CRD (2.8L Diesel) smells kind of like French fries cooking. Also, we have E85 gasoline at many of the local stations (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) here as well. E85 burns very clean and is priced at about $2.19. However, the fuel economy drops by 15 to 20%. We should be buying vehicles that burn bio fuels so that we can reduce our reliance on imported oil and it would help keep our farmers busy plus add jobs in bio refineries. Bio makes more since for a diesel than it does for a gas burner as the economy of the engine is not affected. Check out the following link concerning gasoline powered hybrids verse bio-diesels.


    As far as smell goes, I donít find the smell of a diesel burner any more offensive than the rotten egg smell you get from the tail pipe of a gas burner.

    South Carolina

  11. #40

    Hybrid or Diesel?

    I read somewhere that you couldn't use bio in an injected engine. It gummed up the injectors.


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