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5 pros & cons re: diesel vs gas

Diesel cars can be as slick and sporty as the 2015 Mazda 6 Diesel, a mid-sized four-door sedan. The car’s 2.2 SKYACTIV-D turbo engine boasts 265hp with a torque of 300 lb/ft.

Diesel engines are gaining popularity in America as cleaner emissions and better performance have more people considering diesel with their next vehicle purchase. In one recent poll, 41 percent of people said they likely would consider buying a diesel vehicle, up from 31 percent just a year ago. If you are one of those considering your options for a diesel-powered vehicle, here are 5 pros and cons to first consider.

1. Cost

Cost is always the first consideration for any purchase. The abundance of cheap gasoline-powered vehicles makes diesels seem more expensive. However, many manufacturers are making diesel-hybrid vehicles. A University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study found many vehicles were cheaper in the long term because of fuel savings and better depreciation.

2. Fuel efficiency

Here’s where your math skills will come in handy. Diesel engines are typically 25-33 percent more efficient than gasoline-powered engines. The Texas average gasoline price is $1.847 compared to $2.728 for diesel. Diesel vehicle owners might be envious of those pump prices now, but prices are traditionally closer, thus favoring diesel’s efficiency.

3. Maintenance

The major difference between gasoline and diesel engines comes in the injection of the fuel. A gas engine mixes gas and air and then compresses it before it is ignited by a spark from the spark plug. For diesel, the air is compressed first then the diesel is injected, eliminating spark plugs from diesel engines. Gasoline engines require regular maintenance, as do diesels. That maintenance, however, is easier and cheaper on gasoline engines when neglected. Diesel engines that aren’t maintained cost more to repair when you have problems because the engine’s system is more advanced.

4. Durability

Diesel engines are incredibly long-lasting because they must be made stronger at first. Mercedes-Benz has made several vehicles that have logged more than 900,000 miles. For most owners, it’s common to see diesel engines well over the 200,000 mile mark. Their durability also holds true at resale, when diesel vehicles hold value better than their gasoline counterparts.

5. Performance

Diesel engines provide more torque and accelerate from a start better than gasoline engines. That’s the same reason many trucks and sport-utility vehicles used for towing run on diesel. Although more powerful, a diesel engine is a little less responsive.

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