Diesel Popularity Rises with Gas Prices

"Going to the pump is a lot more fun now," Sue Horchem, a Kilgore resident, said.

That's because Sue recently traded in her Chevy Tahoe for a diesel-powered Volkswagen Beetle. She drives about 75 miles a day for her and her husband's flooring business in Kilgore.

"I was filling up my Tahoe probably every four days or so, spending $50. With the beetle, I can fill up probably about once a week. And it costs me about $21 right now, with the price of diesel fuel."

Sue spends three times less than what her husband spends for his Chevy Avalanche.

"I asked him if I could spend my extra money that I'm saving on shopping," she said.

She's not alone in switching to diesel. Over the past four months, diesel car sales at Crown Volkswagen in Tyler have nearly doubled.

"I'd say seven out of eight inquiries we get on the phone are for diesel," Wayne Riddle, VW sales manager, said.

Experts say diesel is 30 percent more fuel-efficient than gas-powered vehicles. And the EPA has found it's even cleaner than it used to be for the environment.

Riddle says you'll pay more for a diesel Volkswagen than for a gas-powered one. But the diesel requires less maintenance and the gas is cheaper.

"The more you drive, the better the diesel's going to be," Riddle said.

A diesel car is exactly what Larry Shaffer is looking to buy. He and his wife currently own a truck and a large SUV.

"I want to buy a vehicle to tour and travel around the country in," Larry said. "There's just no comparison. It's just ridiculous to not drive one. I'm sold on one. I'm going to buy one."

Crown Volkswagen says the demand for diesel is making it hard for the dealership to keep up.

Julie Tam, reporting.