When someone mentions diesels – images of smoky, rattley trucks may spring to mind. The fact is that the modern clean diesel engine is much more refined than in the old days. Sure, diesel engines remain a very popular choice with heavy duty pick-up trucks, but they are finding their way into nearly every segment of the automotive market. Why is that?
Well, its science. Diesel fuel contains more energy than the same amount of gasoline. So, it takes less diesel fuel to do the same amount of work as gas – so you get more miles per gallon and lower emissions. In Europe, where fuel is very expensive and high mileage is very important, around half of passenger vehicles are powered by diesel engines. This goes for small economy cars all the way up to the world’s most expensive luxury vehicles.
The driving experience is also very good with diesel engines – in fact you may not even be able to tell the difference between riding in or driving a diesel-powered vehicle. So, what are the factors to consider when deciding whether to choose a diesel engine?
One consideration is price. Diesel engines cost more to build and are an extra cost option for most vehicles. So, you need to do the math to see how long it will take the increased fuel economy to pay for the extra up-front cost of a diesel engine. The cost of diesel fuel is also a factor. There is no clear correlation between gas prices and diesel prices because the refining and distribution systems are so different. This means that the difference in price per gallon for diesel and gasoline can vary a great deal depending on where you live. Just watch diesel and gas prices for a while (or talk with a diesel owner) so you can get a feel for how much price per gallon figures into your purchase decision.
Also important to your decision to purchase a diesel is your expected use of the vehicle. For example, if you tow heavy trailers or haul heavy loads, the extra power many diesel engines offer (while getting better mileage than a gas engine) may sway your decision. Your highway/city driving mix may play into the decision as well. Diesels shine in the highway mileage department. And the more you drive in a year, the more attractive diesel engines become.
If a diesel engine is for you, remember that it still requires maintenance like your gas-powered vehicles always have. Oil changes, cooling system service, power steering, brakes, tires, etc. – all need to be maintained. Some of the schedules may be different because of the unique design of diesel engines. Your service advisor will be able to help you properly maintain your diesel vehicle, helping it last longer and continue to deliver great performance and fuel economy.
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Kacal's Auto & Truck Service
5030 Old Spanish Trail
Houston, Texas 77021