Diesel Vs Unleaded The Truth About Fuel Economy

Diesel Vs Unleaded The Truth About Fuel Economy

Ahh, you remember it, don't you? Sitting in​ the​ back of​ your family's station wagon as​ a​ kid, your father pulls up to​ the​ gas pump and​ a​ station attendant—an occupation about as​ extinct as​ the​ dinosaurs—came running out with a​ rag in​ his hand, leaned into the​ driver's window and​ said… "Diesel or​ unleaded?"

Those days are long gone. and​ I'm not just referring to​ the​ attendant. Nowadays, at​ least in​ the​ U.S., you can expect to​ find three things at​ a​ gas pump: self-serve, pay first, and​ unleaded gasoline only.

Misconceptions about diesel fuel being "dirtier" than unleaded gas several years ago ultimately led to​ diesel's obsolescence in​ the​ more environmentally progressive United States. Car companies began to​ manufacture cars that, for​ the​ most part, ran on traditional gasoline.

In response, however, steps were taken to​ improve the​ cleanliness of​ diesel and​ now major car companies have begun to​ sell diesel-powered vehicles to​ consumers once again.

In the​ past, especially in​ the​ United States, diesel fuel was considerably dirtier than unleaded gasoline. Vehicles in​ the​ United States also tended to​ be built for​ traditional gasoline, with the​ exception of​ large trucks, buses, and​ semis. in​ recent years, however, steps have been taken to​ improve the​ cleanliness of​ diesel fuel through regulation, and​ many companies have begun selling popular consumer cars that run on diesel fuel.

One such company is​ Isuzu Motors, known for​ its popular 5-passenger Ascender SUV, and​ two models of​ high-performing pick up trucks (the i-290 and​ i-370). Isuzu's diesel engines have won a​ laundry list of​ awards in​ past years including "Truck of​ the​ Year" by Motor Trend Magazine, "Executive Diesel Car of​ the​ Year 2002" by Diesel Car Magazine (a publication in​ the​ U.K.), "Germany's best small and​ compact car of​ the​ Year 2001" by Mot Magazine (published in​ Germany), as​ well as​ having been named multiple times by Ward's Communications of​ the​ U.S. as​ one of​ the​ "10 Best Engines." in​ addition, Isuzu vehicles were voted the​ top medium-duty truck brand six times in​ seven years by truck dealers. Impressive, but not fully convinced that diesel's better? Keep reading…

Diesel fuel actually burns more efficiently than gasoline, thus having a​ better fuel economy—about 30% more efficient on average. Why?

Diesel is​ denser than its unleaded competitor. Proponents of​ gasoline are quick to​ point out that diesel engines produce more greenhouse emissions, which is​ true, emissions with diesel are about 15% higher than those of​ traditional unleaded gas due to​ higher volumetric energy density. However, the​ increased fuel efficiency more than offsets the​ higher percentage, so in​ the​ long run, diesels produce less emissions— 15% more per gallon used, but a​ trip in​ the​ good ole family car will use 30% less fuel to​ get to​ wherever you're going.

Granted, this wasn't the​ case with Dad's old wagon. Back then, before the​ anti-diesel crusade, diesel engines were creating more emissions because they simply weren't efficient. Now, with the​ modern diesel engine achieving a​ 20- 40% better fuel economy, it's time to​ give diesel a​ second look.

But that's not the​ only exciting news about diesel. Originally, the​ diesel engine was created as​ a​ way to​ run vehicles using vegetable oils. While farmers originally couldn't compete with big oil companies, with gas prices soaring, there's been a​ renewed interest in​ alternative fuel sources—and food-based diesel fuels can be produced quickly, cheaply, and​ with the​ abundance of​ products grown in​ our very own country. These "hybrid diesels" also known as​ "biodiesel" are compatible with existing diesel engines and​ can also be made from waste oils gathered from restaurants or​ homes—an alternative that serves several ecological benefits at​ the​ same time.

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