I’ve been a card-carrying member of the diesel fan club for many years. The benefits of longevity and fuel economy speak for themselves, but the advancement of gasoline engines has significantly narrowed the gap in recent years.
The average cost of diesel fuel remains well above that of regular unleaded, and diesel cars typically cost much more than the same model powered by a gasoline engine. So have oil burners lost their edge? Chrysler doesn’t think so, as its turbodiesel V6 could start showing up in more models.
The Detroit News reports that diesel engines no longer have a major advantage in torque, and they don’t offer significantly better fuel economy. Technology for traditional gasoline engines has improved, and the benefits of diesel have vanished due to the proliferation of direct injection and turbocharging.
Knowing this, many automakers, including Ford, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, are staying out of the diesel-powered game and focusing on hybrid technology instead. Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik says that the cost of adding hybrid technology is about $1,500 compared to a cost of about $5,000 for diesel.
Chrysler, though, wants to see the diesel option grow in popularity in the United States.
WardsAuto reports Chrysler President and CEO Saad Chehab has made it clear the automaker is investigating the possibility of using the 3.0-liter diesel in the 200 and 300. While speaking at an Automotive Press Association luncheon, Chehab said,
It’s a matter of how much the customer is willing to pay for that premium. That’s the only issue with it.
That’s a mighty big issue, as the premium for the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a mightly $7,500. It’s hard to imagine very many people seeing the value in adding that much cost to a sedan.
Considering the rising costs and diminishing returns of going diesel, would you consider an oil-burning Chrysler?