Death of Diesel? 6 Ways the Pundits Are Wrong
In the wake of the 2015 controversy regarding specific diesel cars and misleading data regarding emissions, many a pundit predicted diesel was well and truly dead.
Think again. These prognosticators sound much like their predecessors who were certain PCs would disappear from the computing world once people discovered the advantages of Apple. Today, both technologies are thriving for one simple reason: People and industries have diverse needs that require different solutions.
In other words, there are at least six sound reasons why diesel powered cars, SUVs, trucks and vans are likely to remain a part of the American landscape:
- Fuel efficiency. Gallon for gallon, diesel fuel provides roughly 30% more energy than gasoline, which in practical terms translates into higher mpg ratings compared to gas-powered counterparts.
- Power and torque. The higher cylinder pressures and longer stroke lengths found in diesel engines create more torque, which delivers more power at lower speeds to move the vehicle, pull a load or both.
- Long distances. There’s no mystery here. Diesel cars, SUVs and trucks are popular in Texas and California, the two largest states in the lower 48. While both have densely populated urban centers, they also have vast expanses of open highway, so drivers in both states routinely log remarkable numbers of hours and miles getting from point A to point B. Driving a vehicle that gets significantly better mileage and travels 600 miles or more on a tank of fuel saves money and reduces trips to the pump.
- Cleaner than before. While the debate over emissions testing continues to rage, it’s fair to say that new-gen diesels are significantly better than before. According to some sources, modern diesel engines are 60 times cleaner than traditional ones.
- Mixed use. While many analysts exclude light- and medium-duty diesel trucks and vans from their analyses, the reality is they’re great mixed use vehicles. Small business owners, independent contractors and tradespeople often opt to invest in one vehicle that fulfills multiple purposes from hauling equipment and materials to towing a trailer or transporting a kid’s soccer team.
- Longer life, lower costs. While many gas-powered cars last 100,000 miles or more, diesel cars often last 200,000 miles or more, and some Mercedes-Benz owners have clocked 900,000 miles on the original engine. High volume drivers or those who keep cars a long time rapidly recoup the slightly higher purchase price through lower overall fuel costs, reduced maintenance requirements and the advantages of a durable, long lasting engine.