The fuel supply in America is forever dwindling, this vital resource we all share is in need of constant innovation and refurbishment. In light of the recent election and current recession, energy, the federal budget, and the auto industry, along with similar issues have all come to the forefront. Legislatures and manufacturers are working harder than ever to explore alternative means of fuel and renewable energy to offer in mass production. Many consumers are seeking ways to save money in both the short term and long term.
Commonly overlooked, the old familiar concept of diesel engines and fuels may prove to be a valuable proponent to bring in the new energy era. Diesel engines and fuels are very similar to the traditional gasoline engine most people are familiar with. Diesel is used in some consumer automobiles as well as industrial and commercial equipment. The use of diesel is far more commonplace in Europe than America; a significant number of vehicles in Europe are diesel. The most reputable diesel manufacturers are all European automakers; Mercedes, Audi, BMW, and the more moderately priced and innovative Volkswagen.
Diesel fuel is merely distilled petroleum; it is typically priced 30 cents more than regular gasoline, or about the same price as premium gasoline. Rudolph Diesel received a patent in 1893 for the diesel engine after being influenced by the gasoline engine predecessor a few years prior. Instead of using a spark to ignite the fuel, Diesel injected the fuel into the pocket of highly compressed hot air inside the engine cylinder. The higher compression and injected fuel are what make diesel engines more efficient (Radich); diesel engines have an estimated 45% efficiency rate while gasoline engines are only 30% efficient, in the future, they could reach up to a 55 to 63 percent efficiency rate (US EERE).
For the average consumer, diesel offers comparable prices, possibly even savings. The engines last longer; typically for 300,000-500,000 miles and offer typically at least 10-15+ more miles per gallon that can pay off over time driving. The popular Volkswagen Jetta and Golf average 30 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway (US EPA).Excluding the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, the prices at the pump are comparable to gasoline; usually never more than a 30 cent differential over the past 5 years (US EIA). The engines are a wise investment because they offer more durability and efficiency while eliminating electrical liabilities; stronger parts are also more accustomed in these “heavy” engines.
With diesel, consumers have more options in regards to fuel; aside from the traditional petroleum-based diesel fuels, there are also biodiesel mixtures available. Currently, there is also ULSD, the suggested and commonly used cleaner-burning diesel fuel with very low sulfur content (US EPA). Diesel is changing and becoming more finely tuned in these recent times; the loud, smelly, gaseous engines are memories of the past. Newly improved engine control and fuel injection technologies have increased the acceleration, power, and efficiency of the engines. New noise and vibration damping technologies and engine designs have made diesel quieter and smoother as well (US EPA). Needless to say, the potential energy savings in diesel is worth further attention from consumers, manufacturers, and legislatures as well.