My 2000 GLS TDI VW New Beetle

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Buying the Beetle

For a while I've had my eye on the Volkswagon TDI vehicles. The manual transmission versions are known for getting near and even over 50mpg. The interesting thing about them is that the performance is very impressive. Small seeming horsepower (90hp) but impressive torque output. What further intreagues me is that the diesel engine was originally designed to run on Peanut Oil. A perfectly viable fuel for this engine is waste vegetable oil. That's right, with a bit of work this car can be fueled by the stuff that McDonalds makes your french fries in. With everything these cars have have going for them, I wanted one.

On my last trip out to North Carolina, some 1200 miles or so, I got about 12.5 mpg in my Grand Cherokee. My grand is lifted, has larger tires, as well as a large roof rack. On the trip we were really loaded down. 1200mi / 12.5mpg = 96gallons one way. The trip cost me over $200 in gas! Now for some more math... I drive between 15 and 20 thousand miles a year. 15,000mi / 12.5mpg = 1200gallons. 12000gallons * $1.60 = $1,920. That's when I don't drive much. Now, consider the TDI. 1200mi / 50mpg = 24gallons. 24gal/96gal = 25% of the fuel. Diesel is generally cheaper than unleaded in the US. 50mpg is likely mileage on a road trip, but city driving is more like 40mpg. 15,000mi / 40mpg = 375gallons per year! Given the fuel costs in my town yesterday, we can estimate the cost savings. 375gal * $1.42/gal = $535 per year. So, given a conservative estimate the TDI should save me $1,387.50 in fuel. I'm likely to see even more savings since Unleaded was almost $1.70 yesterday. Using conservative numbers, one of these cars will save me a good $100 in fuel costs every month!

On friday, August 28th, 2003 it cost me $37.76 to fill the fuel tank of my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Imagine my horror. That was the last straw for me. I determined that it was the last time. I'd spent the week perusing for used jettas in my budget at dealers in Missouri. Unfortunately none were to be found. I did however speak with a sales rep named 'DiDi' of all things about a 2000 TDI beetle. I checked out a gas powered beetle in town, but didn't like it all that much. However, since I couldn't find a TDI anywhere else I figured I'd drive up to Kansas City and check it out. The TDI really impressed me. Especially since I know that I can get a third more horsepower out of it with a computer chip modification. DiDi took me on a nice little twisty test drive.

On the test drive, DiDi explained the various features of the car and encouraged me to pass someone else who was test driving a white beetle. I was really surprised by how the torque shined. To pass, all I had to do was push the accelerator with no need to downshift. The New Beelte is just huge inside. When you sit down you feel like you're suddenly in a huge cavern.

Then we got down to numbers. I told him what I'd be happy spending, and he went off to discuss what they'd give me for my Grand Cherokee. In the end it came out about right. I'm sure he did allright on his commission, but I came away happy and ended up spending just a bit more than I'd hoped.

Now I'm the proud owner of this beautiful 2000 TDI beetle. Funny bit is that my next door neighbor owns a black 2002 turbo beetle. The best part? I filled the tank on the way back home... $12. Gotta love it.