Quieting Diesels Down
Another issue with older diesels is one that still colors many consumers' opinion: their (former) distinctive sound. In the past, diesel clatter woke sleeping babies, warned the neighbors you were coming down the street and in general let the world know that yes, a diesel had arrived.
That clatter was a combination of noise from the high-pressure fuel injectors and the echo from the highly explosive diesel combustion occurring in the cylinders. It was the audible signal that the engine was working.
But modern engine design and noise-reduction technologies have pretty much eliminated clatter as a problem. It is still audible from outside the cars when they are idling, especially in close and closed spaces such as alleys and garages. But if you're inside a modern diesel car or SUV, there's barely a hint of diesel clatter. And at speed, when the mechanical clacking is overpowered by wind, tires and general engine noises, it all but disappears.
Savings Versus Cost
A diesel version of a particular model typically will cost more to buy than a similarly equipped gasoline version. The range runs from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and depends on real costs, plus each automaker's own pricing strategies. Mercedes-Benz, for example, charges almost no premium for most of its diesel models.
While diesels deliver better fuel efficiency than comparable gasoline models, they usually can't match the efficiency delivered by conventional hybrids. But in almost every case, the diesel premium is less than the premium that buyers pay for hybrids. Further, hybrids' fuel savings don't make up the difference. They remain more expensive to own than diesels.