• Jan 8, 2010

Some of us are big fans of diesel engines. Huge fans even. We love the slow-revving grunt. We love the incredibly long time it takes them to run through a tank of fuel. We love lazily cruising at 70 mph while turning over less than 2,000 rpm. There's even more to love, but we have to admit, none of us currently own a vehicle powered by a modern diesel engine that requires AdBlue, a urea-based solution that breaks down nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases that's required for some diesel-powered vehicle to meet strict emissions standards. If we did, we might be a little irked like Tom Mutchler over at Consumer Reports.

Mutchler recently took the publication's diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz GL320 BluTec to a dealer because a warning light indicated that the SUV was low on AdBlue. The total bill for a refill? $316.99! The GL gulped 7.5 gallons of this costly solution, which accounted for $241.50 of the total bill. For those who don't do math, that's $32.20/gallon. Labor and tax accounted for the remainder, which is also shocking considering the only labor involved was twisting a cap and pouring.

It took CR about 16,566 miles to run low on AdBlue, which means they'll be spending $1,457.80 on the stuff over 100,000 miles. Sure, that may not be a lot of money for someone who just purchased a $67,000 SUV, but Mutchler makes a good point reminding us that BMW covers that cost for its diesel-powered vehicles up to 50,000 miles.

[Source: Consumer Reports]


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  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, I think we all should stop drinking milk because it costs 8 dollars a gallon a the Quickie Mart! Darn cows always trying to rob us of our green.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd pee in the tank...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The garbage truck sound of a luxury diesel V8, enjoy the full 30 seconds:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vz31seTUiXE&feature=related
        • 5 Years Ago
        You should see how much the MB dealers charge for oil changes...if you think the ridiculous labor costs for pouring in liquid is bad wait until they have to drain AND pour in new liquid.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is just the dealer service ripping off the customer. The stuff doesn't cost that much to make or buy wholesale.

        The savvy shopper would seek out a 3rd party alternative for letting MB bend them over at will.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL
      • 5 Years Ago
      AdBlue = Urea (DEF), available (or soon available) at truck stops.

      And to those that propose driving 'without it' - not possible...the vehicle derates (loses) power & throws engine MIL when running low.

      Thank the EPA for all of this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's a heavy fee for burning clean. And, sad as it is to say, considering we'll be out of fossil fuels in 20-40 years (according to the History channel a couple of nights ago), diesel just ain't the solution.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ adam1drift

        You may want to do some research into what it takes to extract any significant quantity of oil from oil shale. The technology is currently in its infancy, and there are worries that by the time it's where we need it we'll have reached peak oil thus negating any significant benefits to offset the cost of oil. Not to mention it would be more environmentally sound to rip out a old coal/steam powered locomotive and make a passenger vehicle out of that, because for the meager extraction of oil there is quite a cost.

        Mind you I'm exaggerating, but investing in Fossil Fuels as we head towards Oil peak and decline, is the same sort of ass backwards thinking that led to the decline of American industry and our Auto industry for example. You can't invest in something that will not exist, or will not be able to survive on the market. At this rate we'll have thorium reactors in our cars sooner.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF/urea) is or will be available at pumps across the country for a $2-3/gallon. So considering they got over 2000 mpg of the stuff, it shouldn't really be an issue for most regular urea injected diesels. I don't think ~$20 once a year is really a huge hassle. The $32.00/gallon price is just so you can brag to your friends about how expensive your german car is to operate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not really all that suprised that you would LARGE for anything done at a Benz or BMW dealer. If you have the coin to buy the ride, then you've got no problem when they "bend you over" in the service bay.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah it's a real rip-off.

      The AdBlue substance can't be expensive to produce to justify the price over $200, and then the labor is ridiculous too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So many of you are missing the point here. Customers don't like unexpected costs. So even if this is "only" $400, that's going to come as a shock. And as to it being cheap at your local farmer's co-op or truck stop, that doesn't cut it either. Customers shouldn't have to go out of their way not to get ripped off.

      Flat out, Mercedes needs to fix this. Make it a lot cheaper and then you truly can say it's no big deal.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's Mercedes-Benz for you. Shocking for the rest of us, but Benz drivers won't bat an eye - they are used to this sort of rip-off.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Speaking of being ripped off!!!
      I think AdBlue is available for less than $3 a gallon at the pump.
      The trip over here might be a bit more expensive though.You 'll have to fly to Europe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like how at the end of the story, they admit that it is not really a story worth showing:

      "Sure, that may not be a lot of money for someone who just purchased a $67,000 SUV, but Mutchler makes a good point reminding us that BMW covers that cost for its diesel-powered vehicles up to 50,000 miles."
        • 5 Years Ago
        And how does that statement negate the value of the story?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please explain.
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