Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about in the future is diesel engines. We’re not talking about semi-trucks and buses – We’re talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.
Most people are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import auto manufacturers offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven’t been available in North America. But that’s about to change.
In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in North America so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered over the next few years.
Why are so many interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There’s more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. That means better performance with better fuel economy.
Diesel powered vehicles get about 20% better fuel economy. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold with diesel engines?
If you think back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels are nothing like that.
They are quiet, clean – and very powerful. They’re so refined that many people can’t even tell they’re riding in a diesel powered car. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.
Another thing that intrigues the environmentally conscious is that it’s possible to use bio-diesel as fuel. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from restaurants. Hybrid cars have gotten everyone’s attention these days. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.
Every year, manufacturers are planning more diesel offerings. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import marquees have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to North America as well.
Now you should know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it’s very important to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.
The good news is that your local service center is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.
When we tell you to look for more diesels, you won’t be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won’t be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won’t be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.
From all of us at AutoNetTV, ten four, good buddy.