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Old 12-15-2008, 04:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Poll for Americans: What about Diesel engines?

Dear American friends,
what do you think about diesel engines cars?

In Europe aprox. 50% of the cars have a diesel engine. The reasons are political, ecological and I suppose also military.

In my humble opinion the last generation of diesel engines are superior to normal fuel or even hybrid engines (why do we need today two engines ?).
Pros:
1. Less consumption
2. Less CO2 emissions
3. Diesel is less refinished than fuel. Therefore it needs less energy to be produced
4. Fantastic torque values
5. Longer lifespan of the engine
6. Less complicated technology. No spark plugs etc.
7. Diesel is generally cheaper and everywhere available (at least in Europe)

Cons:
1. Higher NOX emission
2. If not equipped with a particulate filter: Toxic dust emissions
(today almost all new diesel engines in Europe come equipped with a self-cleaning filter)
3. Engine is noisier
4. Slight higher purchase price

What do you think ?
Isn’t it time to change ?
Thanks for your considerations.


Last edited by hal9999; 12-15-2008 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 12-15-2008, 05:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As a European diesel driver, I'll throw in my three (euro)cents. Among the cons of a diesel car is not only the slightly higher price, but also slightly larger weight. On the other hand, today's hi-tech diesels (high injection pressure, commonrail, turbo) are as elastic and almost as quiet as gassers, yet need less fuel. This is because diesel fuel has more calories than gasoline, and because the engine itself is more efficient (I've seen something like 40% efficient, compared to 30% for gas engines).

As for hal9999's list of pros, diesel is cheaper than gas (point 7.), because it is less refinished (point 4.), so it's easier to produce than gasoline. This was the case until a few months ago. Now the prices are similar, because the need for diesel is much larger: not only are so many cars running on it, but the whole transport industry uses it (trucks, trains, ships). As an example I'll give you today's prices at a gas station nearby:
gasoline 95 octane: $1.30/liter, $4.94/USGallon
gasoline 98 octane: $1.39/liter, $5.29/USGallon
diesel fuel : $1.32/liter, $5.01/USGallon

And Americans are complaining about fuel prices...
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Old 12-15-2008, 05:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Your are partially right.

There are two aspects:

1. The difference of price between Diesel and Gasoline depends of the politics of the country. For example Spain, France, Germany and Italy subsidize Diesel, by tax reductions, and it’s therefore cheaper. In Switzerland Diesel is more expensive because it isn’t subsidized and the high demand.

2. Whatever the demand is, the fact remains that Diesel needs less energy to be produced.
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think diesels are great. One reason we don't have many diesels in the U.S. is that we couldn't buy them in passenger cars for a long time. People wanted them, but Mercedes and VW would not sell them because they would not meet strict US air pollution rules. Manufacturers have now started introducing diesels back into the US since we now have only ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD). Now, with the combination of ULSD and the new diesel engines, diesels can meet air pollution rules in all 50 states and will soon be sold by Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and VW.

There are a lot of diesel fanatics in the US, but the shear scarcity of diesel cars has made many other people wary of buying them. Hopefully that will soon change.

As for the price of diesel fuel - in the US the price of diesel and gas has always averaged about the same. Most people think that diesel is usually cheaper, but that is not the case (it's an urban myth). Right now diesel is much more expensive than gas, with a gallon of gas in my town at $1.56/gallon and a gallon of diesel is $2.50/gallon.

Last edited by instarx; 12-15-2008 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
gas at $1.56/gallon and a gallon of diesel is $2.50/gallon
Huh, :-(
this makes diesel cars less attractive for the Americans.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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For the good of the country, we need the diesel. The difference in efficiency makes them a means of reducing our dependence on imported oil. If all our gas vehicles instantly became diesels, our fuel consumption would drop by 25-40%.

Another thought. There is some work being done on algal biodiesel and synthetic (Fischer-Tropsch) diesel/jet fuel. The gasoline made by F-T is only 80 octane. To use biodiesel you need a diesel.

The environmental regulations put in place in the US in 2007 have been all pain and no gain for US diesel owners. The fuel costs a buck a gallon more and now the vehicles have this goofy barrier filter and urea injection. That's not the way to win over the people to the diesel. These regs are the work of the devil.

The price differential is wearing on even hard-core diesel fans like me. My 25 MPG truck costs the same to fuel up as a 15 MPG gas pig.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Europe too will soon introduce new very restrictive anti-pollution directives.

But in my opinion this is the right way.

European carmakers, as leader in diesel engines, will be forced to new technologies.

It’s amazing how BMW, Peugeot, Mercedes, VW and Co. made in only a few years from a polluting noisy diesel engine new superb diesel motors. But only because of continuously new restrictive anti-pollution laws.

Fe. Peugeot developed the particulate filter, albeit the Germans claimed this was not possible, and made thus out of the diesel motor a clean engine.
BMW makes incredibly low consumption engines.

PS. What do you mean by << goofy barrier filter >> ?

Last edited by hal9999; 12-15-2008 at 08:58 PM..
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Up here in Canada, the fuel price differential is less severe than it is stateside. Currently, in Edmonton, Alberta, gasoline costs between 65-71 c/L, whereas the least expensive diesel fuel is 78.4c/L

Until Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel formulations came out, Diesel tended to be cheaper than gasoline here in summer, and more expensive than gasoline when winter comes. The past year or two, as all stations here became ULSD fuel only, the price has tended to be at parity with gasoline per volume, or higher.

Part of the price competition for diesel in winter in North America is the large number of fuel-oil heated homes in the Eastern seaboard -- Both in the US and Canada. The other big issue I see is simply supply and demand: With a majority of gasoline powered vehicles, less diesel is produced on this continent.

And at the macro-economic level, the US and Europe have been cross-shipping overproductions of diesel (US -> Europe), and gasoline (Europe -> US) which has kept diesel prices higher in N. America than the previous year, while the gasoline imports have helped stabilize prices for that fuel more than otherwise. This is all aside of taxes, tarriffs, and subsidies on fuels.

Oh, and one more con for the diesel list, as an owner: Harder cold starting in VERY cold winter temperatures.

I'm regretting that I did not put my scheme for a two-battery relocate to my trunk of my Jetta this winter season. It's only mid-December, and the first -25C temperatures this weekend kept my car from starting.

Time to post this, and go hunt down a way of insulating my battery better to help retain more heat.
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Old 12-15-2008, 10:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal9999 View Post
PS. What do you mean by << goofy barrier filter >> ?
That would be the Diesel Particulate Filter.

I think diesel engines are great from an efficiency standpoint. They are generally way more fun to drive on the street than petrol cars because of their low end torque.

However, from an environmental standpoint they absolutely needed tough emissions regulations. I've been in cities full of 10+ years old diesel cars and it's not pretty. Anyone against emissions regulations for diesels in the name of efficiency would probably change their mind after a couple minutes walking the streets of such a place.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I realized yesterday why my dad hates diesels: The mess of fumes and junk falling out the back. I backed almost 500yds off an old 80's Ford diesel because of how much it stunk. It was not pleasant at all. Now the 300d I was behind not long ago I didn't even know it was a diesel till I got closer and read the tag. There needs to be tougher legislation for older diesels, as that's where the "hate" (like my dad) comes from.

Although when someone buys a new Cummins Dodge and mods it, it still ends up like an 80's Ford. people suck.

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