Since Rudolph Diesel invented his revolutionary internal combustion engine in 1893, diesel engines and conventional spark-driven combustion engines have been locked in competition for favor among the world’s engineers. For most of the last 100-plus years, the two technologies have enjoyed an uneasy peace with light-weight, spark-driven engines dominating the personal transportation, personal marine and early aviation fields, and heavier diesels being the engines-of-choice for larger vehicles like trucks, locomotives, ships and submarines.
However, in the past 25 years, lighter-weight diesels have become competitive in automobile manufacturing. In Europe, 50 percent of all new cars are now diesel-powered.
If you’ve owned a diesel powered vehicle in the past or if you own one now, you no doubt appreciate the qualities this engine provides you with. More torque, better fuel economy, and easier maintenance are but a few of the attributes of owning diesel
However, there are some motorists that still complain about the engine’s weak power, especially when accelerating from a full stop. What you may not be aware of is the fact that a diesel engine can be tweaked to give more power without harming the fuel economy.
Diesel engines use air compression to create combustion versus the fuel/air mixture that is required by gas engines. This attribute means that diesel engines don’t require spark plugs and therefore don’t need to be tuned up. Diesel fuel has a much higher fuel density than gas, which results in fuel economy increases of 20 – 30% over gasoline powered vehicles.
Diesel engines also produce minimal carbon monoxide. This makes diesel generators useful in mines and submarines, environments in which gasoline engine exhaust would prove deadly.
Diesel engines are also cheaper to maintain as they have less parts than that of a gasoline powered engine. The life span of a diesel engine is also much longer. If you’re looking for torque, for pulling a boat or other equipment, then the diesel engine has the supreme advantage. Diesel engines are surely slower, especially when starting from a dead stop, although when you climb hills or go over bridges, the diesel engine is surely up to the task.
Modern diesel engines have also overcome disadvantages of earlier models of higher noise and maintenance costs. They are now quiet and require less maintenance as compared with gas engines of similar size.
The main benefit of diesel powertrains is better fuel economy over gasoline equivalents. That’s important for drivers looking to spend less money at the pump. Some diesel vehicles can improve gas mileage by 20 percent or more, which is a huge boost. And while others don’t increase fuel economy that much, they can offer better gas mileage and acceleration that feels like a larger engine.