• Jul 24, 2008
Now that Toyota has sold so many Priuses that the popular hybrid no longer qhalifies for federal tax credits, and they are essentially sold out until the new generation cars show up next year, people might be wondering where to go for a high mileage vehicle. Volkswagen's new 50-state legal Jetta TDI is going on sale around about Labor day and our good friends at the IRS have decreed that people who purchase one will be able to get a check back from the feds for $1,300. The clean diesel Jetta qualifies under the Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle income tax credit. That would bring the price premium for the diesel to only $700 over a comparable Jetta with a gas engine. The EPA has rated the Jetta at 29/40mpg city highway with a 6-speed DSG gearbox. Real world numbers are likely to be closer to the low 40s for most drivers, but we'll be finding out for ourselves soon. At the first drive of Mercedes new BlueTec diesels last month, company officials expressed hope that those vehicles would also qualify for the credit. Thanks for the tip, Conner!

[Source: VWvortex]


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  • 52 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      About these 'Tax credits' ?...What's to stop a manufacturer from building the credit into the sticker price?
      For example.A manufacturer could say"Well they're gonna get back $1,200 from Uncle Sam so let's raise the sticker,Oh,say $ 900".
      I just don't see how something like this would be fair to the taxpayer if this scenario plays out.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Edit: I re-read your comment and noticed you were speaking of the manufacturer and not the dealers.

        The manufacturer does set the price. But, I think there would be a large backlash if they were to do that for a couple of reasons. One being that VW has already announced the prices for the Jetta TDI. So, they'd have to suddenly come out and say, "Oops, we were wrong, the real price is $XX,XXX." I don't see that happening. Especially if the increase just happens to be identical to the tax credit.

        Secondly, they priced it to be competitive in the marketplace. You don't keep that competitive advantage by raising the price $1300 arbitrarily. They priced the Jetta TDI to be similar to the Prius. With an additional $1300 added, it's no longer a similar price.

        Basically, again, no one is stopping them from doing it, but from a business standpoint, it makes virtually no sense.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, honestly nothing stops them from doing that. But, if a smart buyer shops around and finds a dealer who is not doing that and buys the car for cheaper, then it won't matter. It's not like every dealer will do that.

        It's no different that raising the price of a car because it's popular. No one stopped anyone for buying PT Cruisers for double the MSRP when they came out. Same with the first New Beetles.

        The dealer sets the price of the car, not the Manufacturer. it's up to the buyer to determine if the deal they received is the best deal available.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the temptation would be there for the manufacturer to raise the price because of the tax incentive to the consumer.
        It's something that our government needs to do (stop wasting tax money)especially since these incentives were instituted before gas became over $4 per gallon.
        Seems to me that's incentive enough for people to move to more fuel efficient vehicles.Which is what they're doing in droves.
        • 6 Years Ago
        + your stuck with the higher monthly payment.
        it would be nice if it was a credit towards the car at the time of purchase, that could lower your amount financed to keep payment down.

        that works out to $20-25 per month roughly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I find it disgusting the IRS is going to pay people to buy Diesels, when Diesels emit 3.5x as much particulates and NOx as even the highest tier of gas cars sold (LEV II).

      If every person bought a Diesel instead of a gas car, our air would become significantly dirtier over time. We should be going the other way instead.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You make a lot of valid pionts, so I will just clarify some of my comments. This doesn't change what you said above (which is true)

        The EGR comment was specific to the Jetta, which doesn't need to use Urea to be 50 state legal.

        Diesel is easier to make than gasoline, in both methods and energy input required. There is no large scale proven method to generate Diesel in a carbon-neutral method. The tests that have been done with Algae are carbon positive because they take carbon out of the air to grow, requires minimal energy input for conversion, and the carbon that is released into the atmosphere originally came from the air, not from dirt or another solid form.

        I am discounting your NIMBY argument about the ozone hole not affecting you, as an increase in global temperature affects everyone, regardless of location.

        Particulate matter from Diesel cars is a concern in places like Mexico City and LA, agreed.

        I like the point about slower cars producing less CO2, I hadn't thought about it in that manner.

        I used the example of cars in a garage as a method to show the difference in output, that's all. Both Carbon Monoxide and Dioxide are heavier than air. Although they diffuse faster than particulate matter, and do not cause problems with athmatics, they still cause greenhouse gas and air quality concerns.

        VW quality control of parts, and replacement requirements needs work. I have a 2001 Passat and have replaced all the parts you specified (Timing belt, water pump, CV, PCV, Control Arms...). My preference on a Diesel was because I *can* replace those parts myself. The complex computer controlled electronics of a hybrid can make it very difficult for a shade tree mechanic to repair those vehicles.

        Local consideration; I am Canadian, so paying 4c/L more for Diesel to get almost double the mileage makes it a much more attractive option.

        • 6 Years Ago
        mike m.:
        TDis do emit 3.5x more NOx. I'm sorry you don't want to hear it. They're allowed to emit 3.5x more and if you've followed the tribulations of Diesels trying to pass tier 2 bin 5, it's clear they're not getting under the wire by much, so it would be shocking if they weren't emitting as much as they are allowed.

        Knock-based combustion burns faster and hotter and creates a lot of NOx. That's just the way it is. As gas cars go to HCCI (partial knock-based combustion), they're going to have this problem too.

        PM allowable levels are not the same in CARB areas (where I live) for gas and Diesel, and as I mentioned above, the nature of gas combustion means gas cars don't even come near the limits they are allowed anyway.

        I don't agree with your bias against NA-produced Diesel engines. But I do agree when I speak of the problems with Diesel in cars, I am not including trucks (and thus that 4% of trucks). I honestly see trucks and cars as different and I am resigned to trucks using Diesel (for certain towing vehicles or any truck that rolls up a lot of miles, Diesel makes too much sense to even think of prohibiting it in trucks). It's car's I am worried about. If the market were to shift this year in CARB areas to sell a lot more Diesel cars that previously would have been gas areas, our air would be measurably dirtier. That's why I'm against allowing Diesel cars to pollute more than gas cars, which is the case in CARB areas.

        TDis are perhaps better than the average car on the road in California. But this is because not every car on the road was sold under current emissions regs. TDis are not as clean or cleaner than the average car sold in California this year. They're dirtier. Over time, this leads to dirtier air PER CAR, and then when you add in the fact that there are more cars on the road (and more miles driven) nearly every year than the last, we've got a problem.

        Simply make Diesel cars match gas cars on emissions and CARB won't be able to prohibit them and I won't have any complaints with them.

        VWsat:
        Diesel used to be easier to make than gas by a longshot. It's not anymore, as Diesel has to be much cleaner now, and the sulfur has to be removed. It's not just fuel oil (or fuel oil + kerosene in the case of winter Diesel) anymore.

        Diesel takes more energy to make than gas per gallon because it contains more energy than gas per gallon. Does it take less energy per output energy (so called wheel-to-well) than gas? Well, I dunno. I'm fairly certain it did 10 years ago. But now I'm not so sure.

        The ozone hole doesn't contribute to global warming. In fact, some say it reduced trapped heat and thus faught global warming and by closing it, we're heating the Earth up more. The problem with the ozone hole is UV radiation. Although this is frequently overstated because the holes are at the poles where the angle of incidence of light to atmosphere means UV is likely to "skip off" the atmosphere anyway, and even if it does come into the atmosphere, it comes in at such a low angle that it passes through more atmosphere at other places, which weeds out some UV. And then if it gets down here, it is likely to hit ice (assuming any is still there) or water and glance off back into space anyway.

        Even with the ozone thinning at the worst it ever was, the increase in UV transmitted to the surface was tiny next to the increase by going to a higher altitude. Living in Denver increases your UV exposure far more.

        Also, you used NIMBY completely wrong, IMHO. NIMBY is for people who say they want something fixed, but not by putting something in their backyard. Like nuclear power plants. To use it for saying "I don't care because it doesn't happen in my area" is to completely misuse it, IMHO.

        As to the algae thing, I'm not saying it can't have a net positive effect by net putting less carbon into the air than would have been done with fossil fuels, but it cannot actually remove carbon from the air when you are burning the products at the end and putting the carbon into the air. The best you can do is be carbon-neutral, which is when the carbon being released came from the air in the first place. In order to actually remove carbon, you would have to take carbon out of the air and not return it at all, which doesn't seem to be the case when you're burning the product at the end of the cycle.
        • 6 Years Ago
        BigMcLargeHuge is right (or a heck of a lot closer than I am). I mixed up my measures. Tier 2, bin 5 (what the Jetta meets, not LEV II) is roughly equivalent to LEV II, but it is 3.5x higher in NOx and particulates than the fleet average requirement in CARB states (not the country as a whole).

        So in most states, long term, driving one of these Diesels will simply not make the air any cleaner than it is (assuming the number of cars on the road and aggregate miles driven is steady). However, in CARB states (such as my own), it would make the air dirtier.

        So I was wrong and BigMcLargeHuge is right.

        It's still a problem for those of us in CARB states. And although I'm not a fan of Diesels at all, I don't really mind people buying them in low numbers, I just don't like the feds PAYING people to pollute more in CARB states.

        VWsat:
        EGR has existed on gas cars since the mid-70s. I'm not sure how you can portray it as a Diesel advantage.

        As to your numbered points:
        1) it's unclear at this time that there is any truly carbon-neutral way to make BioDiesel except perhaps waste grease (of which the supply is limited). And nothing that you burn and release into the atmosphere can be carbon negative.
        2) The ozone hole isn't caused by cars or combustion of any type. Plus it doesn't affect me where I live. But living in a mountainous area with frequent atmospheric inversion layers, ground pollutants contribute greatly to the quality of air in my area and this is true of much of the West Coast.
        3) CO2 is a product of incomplete combustion. As such, as cars have become more efficient, all cars (gas and Diesel) have cut CO output greatly. That having been said, you'd be a fool to be in a garage with a running vehicle, CO or no. And as to Diesels putting out a lot less CO2. This is true, part of it is due to inherent efficencies of Diesel (mostly due to a near 100% reduction in throttling losses) and part of it is due to Diesels being slow as slugs. If you make a gas car that takes 11 seconds to reach 60, you'll find the CO2 is a lot lower on it than other gas cars too. Conversely, when you make a Diesel that goes like a rocket (like the Touareg or the BMW 635d) you find the CO2 and fuel consumption go up almost to parity with a gas vehicle (assuming you take into account the 15% more energy and carbon in a gallon of Diesel versus gas). Short version of this story: if we all buy slower cars, we can reduce CO2 output.

        Given my Audi (VW) is going in for new CV boots for the 2nd time in 8.5 years, I'd rather have the Toyota. My Saturn, BTW, never had a new set in the 8 years I owned it. Even if VW can make a Diesel engine that lasts 15 years as people say, it'll probably need a new water pump every 4 years (and don't forget your auxiliary water pump!).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mike M:
        What are you talking about the absolute numbers will give this more meaning? Diesels are worse than the average car for sale in CARB states, so if people buy Diesels instead of gas cars, the average goes up.

        I believe SUVs are allowed to go up to tier 2, bin 8 (with many restrictions) outside of CARB states. This is a lot higher than tier 2 bin 5. This is to phase out in 2009. In CARB states, 96% of light trucks sold must conform to tier 2 bin 5 at worst, 4% can exceed it by 50% on NOx. Guess which 4% that generally is? The Diesels. Note that no properly operating gas engine produces a truly significant amount of particulates, it's just the nature of gas cars. So even though gas cars could in theory emit 30% as much particulates as a tier 2, bin 5 Diesel, in reality it's not even 10% as much. That means that buying a Diesel increases PM 10X or more.

        I covered the NOx above. 96% of light trucks emit the same or less NOx than these TDis in CARB states. Outside CARB states, I'm not sure what the figures are.

        Did these numbers put the figures into perspective for you?

        Here's a very short primer (almost devoid of numbers).
        http://www.hybridcars.com/emissions-standards.html

        Tier 2, bin 5 is almost the same as LEV II, and LEV II is mandated the "fleet average" outside CARB area. ULEV II is the target for fleet average inside CARB area.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The point that I am making is that the word "WORSE" has very little meaning without a reference point.

        A sprinter that finishes .01 second behind the winner is worse. But one might argue that it is all pretty much the same!

        So, on the topic of NOx, it is agreed that the TDI and SUV emission levels are the same. BTW, when we talk about TDIs we exclude the NA built diesel engines - which are the 4% you are refering to.

        So this should put an end to your constant referal that TDIs emit 3.5x more NOx

        Your comment on the PM emissions is all just talk. There is no substance behind it. The bottom line is that the allowable PM levels for passenger vehicles and LDV are the SAME as for TDIs!!!


        In the end, the argument that the TDIs emit 3.5x more PM and NOx is all BS!! They are no worse and in some cases better than whats currently on the roads in California'.

        It's time to give it up!

        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually the Jetta TDi meets LEV II.

        So thats an irrational fear.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Like I said earlier, it's all just talk! 3.5 x nothing is still nothing!

        The TDI meets both Tier 2/Bin 5 AND CARB LEV II emission standards! This is the same for gasoline vehicles.

        Interesting how in 2001 CARB imposed PM filter requirements on all gasoline engines. I guess their PM emission levels were nothing to write home about. In fact, I'm sure they were higher than the current maximum allowable levels for diesels! I hope you were up in arms over this way back then!

        Dude, it's time to get over it! Diesel bashers used to complain about the high emission levels (NOx and PM), problems with cold weather starting, slow acceleration, noisy engines and smelly fuel when it got on your hands.

        What's left to bash? Can't bash the emissions any more! No problems starting in cold temperatures anymore. Noise? What noise? Slow?...the 335d will be doing plenty spanking on the roads!

        The only thing that's now worth bashing is the price of diesel and the price premium for a diesel vehicle! Oh, the fuel still stinks!

        The bottom line is that diesel vehicles are now at the same level as gasoline cars with the added advantage of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 30%.

        The price of diesel is the same as the price of premium gas - the stuff required for quality vehicles (Audi, and BMW)

        You guys better start digging down deep to come up with something good to keep this perpetual bashing going.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Diesels typically produce much more NOx. However the point of the EGR (Gas Recirc) is to let the exhaust cool more slowly, creating less NOx (making N2 and O2 instead)

        You do also miss some of the benefits:

        1. Diesel is much easier to manufacture synthetically. Using Algae is carbon negative (it reduces the amount of free carbon in the atmosphere)
        2. NOx particles that sit close to ground and make things black do not add to atmospheric effects like the Ozone Hole
        3. Diesel produces 30-40% less CO2 and almost no CO (You can stay in a garage with a Diesel Running and not die of carbon monoxide poisoning, but a complete lack of oxygen, suffocation instead)

        Diesel isn't a perfect solution, but can serve as a stop gap until a greener technology can be put into place. Personally, I'll take the simplicity of a Diesel (even a VW with a turbo) over a hybrid, despite the relative Toyota/VW reliability arguments.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The tax incentives are for fuel economy? I always thought they were for emissions. What exactly are the emissions ratings of this car, anyhow? Seems odd to have an article on a "clean" diesel without ratings. Lean-burn vehicles tend to produce more NOx emissions.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My Focus is a PZEV can I get the credit:)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wait a second, people are still saying it's more expensive?

      1300 tax credit = a huge incentive.

      Let's say your income for after write-offs and 401k contributions = 16k tax bill. A 1300 tax credit = 14.7k tax bill. That's a massive difference! You were effectively taxed on 5k less of your income. That easily makes up for the difference in cost from the pathetic 2.5 to the diesel.

      Personally, we would only go diesel or 2.0T. The 2.0T gets 25 MPG and uses premium ($4.60 a gallon in San Diego). Diesel is $5 (35 mpg)at the same gas station by my house. 15k miles a year = $650 a year savings with diesel.

      if the tax credit puts money in your pocket, then the diesel savings = $650 so you're saving over 3k over the course of 5 years of ownership (assuming gas prices don't continue to ascend).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Like I said earlier, it's all just talk! 3.5 x nothing is still nothing!

      The TDI meets both Tier 2/Bin 5 AND CARB LEV II emission standards! This is the same for gasoline vehicles.

      Interesting how in 2001 CARB imposed PM filter requirements on all gasoline engines. I guess their PM emission levels were nothing to write home about. In fact, I'm sure they were higher than the current maximum allowable levels for diesels! I hope you were up in arms over this way back then!

      Dude, it's time to get over it! Diesel bashers used to complain about the high emission levels (NOx and PM), problems with cold weather starting, slow acceleration, noisy engines and smelly fuel when it got on your hands.

      What's left to bash? Can't bash the emissions any more! No problems starting in cold temperatures anymore. Noise? What noise? Slow?...the 335d will be doing plenty spanking on the roads!

      The only thing that's now worth bashing is the price of diesel and the price premium for a diesel vehicle! Oh, the fuel still stinks!

      The bottom line is that diesel vehicles are now at the same level as gasoline cars with the added advantage of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 30%.

      The price of diesel is the same as the price of premium gas - the stuff required for quality vehicles (Audi, and BMW)

      You guys better start digging down deep to come up with something good to keep this perpetual bashing going.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think this is great news!!!!
      If I was commuting further, I would probably highly consider one of these.
      Ejmc
      • 6 Years Ago
      I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS STATEMENT... SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN... "That would bring the price premium for the diesel to only $700 over a comparable Jetta with a gas engine."
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Ejmc
        The price of a TDI Jetta is $2000 above a comparatively-equipped gas Jetta.

        So, $2000 markup -$1300 credit = $700 net difference. So, add in the savings in gas due to the better mileage and you'll probably break even on the price of the car in a year or so and then be saving money after that.

        The math has been done multiple times, even with higher diesel prices, there is still a net savings from driving a diesel. Basically, a 41.667%(24 vs. 34) better combined per gallon mileage figure outweighs a 21.29% higher per gallon fuel cost($3.85 vs. $4.67 from gasbuddy.com for me locally). Mileage figures taken from a 2.5L 5-spd manual Jetta and a 6spd manual TDI Jetta, both 2009 models.

        Read more below.
        http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/06/18/volkswagen-prices-2009-jetta-tdi-sedan-starts-at-21-990/
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Ejmc
        The Jetta TDI costs $2,000 more than a similarly equipped Jetta with a 2.5L five cylinder gas engine. Cut the $1,300 and your down to $700. The 2.0L TFSI costs a $1,000 more than the 2.5L and would actually $300 more than the diesel
      • 6 Years Ago
      #1 Volkswagen will be opening a new plant in North Carolina soon and this will mean lots of American Jobs.
      #2 The MSRP is the Manufacturers suggest price. This does not mean a dealer can ask for more. Competition dictates final selling price. Smart shopping will help you with getting a fair deal.
      #3 The demo will be sold to us at the regular invoice price. Sorry I doubt there will be any deal to be had here or I would buy my own demo myself.
      Just some answers to comments I saw posted.
      Sales Manager
      Jenson Motor Center
      Napa, Ca. Volkswagen
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is actually a one that looks just like that, same graphics and everything, out front of the local VW dealer.
        • 6 Years Ago
        VW dealership in CO has one that looks like it as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        per my last contact with vwoa every dealer should have one, just as every dealer had a demo tiguan before the car released, or gti, or any factory demo every dealer gets prior to a volume seller being released :).
        • 6 Years Ago
        zamafir,

        I know that. But I don't if EVERY dealer has one, since they are apparently in short supply. So maybe they are rotating demos that each dealer gets for a few weeks or something like that. I hadn't heard about dealers getting them yet so I thought it was worth posting.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ... um, every dealer should. they're the demo cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      About friggin' time deisel-heads get a tax credit. That does it; the few TDIs Volkswagen brings to our shores are going to be sold out even faster, while the gas models continue to languish. Maybe once the Jettas sell out, they'll finally work on bringing diesel Tiguans, Passats, and more importantly, Rabbits?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The government wanted to encourage people to purchase fuel efficient vehicles with these tax credits,but gas prices are causing them to do that anyway.
      It's a waste of taxpayer money IMO.
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