You know, there's a funny thing about all of these green cars that have come out of the woodwork, particularly in the past two years.
While the hybrid movement gained some steam when gas prices shot up in 2008 and 2009, it seems to have tittered off; however, you wouldn't know that from the amount of hybrid options hitting the market.
Hell, even BMW is building hybrid products.
And then there's the red-headed stepchild, diesel-powered vehicles. While they're a big smash abroad, the domestic market has never taken too kindly to them. While some luxury makes have had pretty exceptional results -- Audi's A3 TDI and Q7 TDI had around a 50 percent take rate in total A3 and Q7 sales -- it seems that consumers have realized the positives really amount to nothing at the end of the day.
That's because diesel fuel is selling at a premium. Then, on top of the fuel premium, you have the issue of diesel technology vehicles having a higher barrier of entry at the local dealer. It varies from a couple grand to several thousand.
This means, in some cases, it can take 10 or more years just to break even on your purchase when comparing the investment to a standard, gasoline model.
That said, we have to ask: Are diesel sales in the USA almost as LAME as hybrids?
Are diesels a complete waste of time in the States?
...Why is demand flat? One reason is the stubborn price premium on diesel fuel, which was running 15% higher than regular gasoline—a whopping 60 cents per gallon—in the last week in November, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Whatever mileage advantages diesel vehicles offer are being largely zeroed out at the pump.
The vehicles themselves carry a diesel penalty. The base price of our test car this week, an outrageously well-made 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, is $3,900 higher than that of the comparably equipped base model with a gasoline six and Tiptronic automatic transmission. I've just run some numbers: In order to recoup, in fuel savings, the additional outlay for the Cayenne Diesel you would have to own it for about 11.9 years. May I suggest an air freshener?...