Because the Environment is Everybodys Business

By: Benjamin Hudson

The increasing demand for green cars and the growing awareness for the continuous threat of global warming have encouraged dealerships around the country to join the green car bandwagon. And to attract customers these auto dealers are using green diesel cars. More than a dozen of these businesses are found along the West Coast where the biodiesel subculture is slowly conquering the mainstream.

A great number of these clean-diesel entrepreneurs conduct marketing via the internet using their own web sites as well as Craigslist classifieds to attract potential customers, there are also some that display their wheels from streetside auto lots.

According to Steve Ahl, a former recycled-lumber salesman who is currently outfitting his used diesel car lot in Ukiah, Calif., with solar panels, "In 2003, I came out of the closet and became a full-blown car dealer. This isn't the typical suede shoe used car lot operation."

The Ahl Motors TDI Cars has been able to sell almost 700 Volkswagen Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesels together with some other brands like Ford and Honda trucks. It also has stocks of 25 models with price ranging from $10,000 to $35,000. Ahl also said that most of his customers would really want to shift to using biodiesel.

To convert a vehicle into a green car would normally cost as little as $50 or more than $2,000 depending on the modifications that a car owner wants. But no matter how the cost involved the result is worth it since you get to have a vehicle that can run on petroleum-based diesel, crop-based biodiesel, vegetable oil from deep-fryers of fast-food kitchens or how about a combination of the three.

Ahl Motors's models can function on biodiesel after only minimal alterations. Ahl said that starting from the time that oil prices have continuously increased, their sales also took off and have grown since then although it still fluctuates due to the rise and fall of the cost of diesel.

Despite of the fact that the Northern California lot attracts mostly politically aggressive customers that includes Pete Coyote who recently bought a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, Ahl also stressed that there are also a fair share of shoppers who buy because they know that by doing so will enable them to help preserve the environment, which is definitely a good thing.

Whatever may be the motivation that a customer has may it be political or the simple care for the environment, the fuel-efficiency and the longevity of diesel cars would remain to be the key selling point for Ahl's customers.

In some vehicles an odometer showing 100,000 miles traveled may indicate old age for gasoline engine but the opposite is true in the case for diesel cars like Volkswagen TDIs because such figure is a sign of youth. You see Volkswagen TDIs are designed to last half a million miles and are equipped with high-quality that helps turn it into a fuel-efficient and eco-friendly vehicle. Ahl said, "I have sold to conservative Republicans just because these cars make economical sense. They're sporty, economical and they go forever."

Last year AutoWeek magazine has tested a Volkswagen Jetta TDI and was able to achieve 49.9 miles per gallon surpassing the 42 miles per gallon of the Toyota Prius. And with or without biodiesel the Jetta TDI hovers around $3.50 per gallon in California. Ahl has customers coming from as far as San Diego and Seattle who wants to replace their hybrid Toyota or Honda with a Volkswagen TDI and fuel it up with biodiesel.

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