When the average American thinks about diesel vehicles an image of a full sized pickup with loud noisy smoke stacks blowing dark black soot polluting the air comes to mind. This image is a misconception that needs to be addressed. Whether or not you’re a fan of diesel rigs there are some truths about these engines you should know.
People believe that diesel causes more pollution then gas and is bad for the environment, but this very untrue. Gas actually produces more carbon dioxide emissions then diesel. Carbon dioxide emissions lead to things like the greenhouse effect and climate changes. Something people believe diesel plays a big role in. Even though diesel doesn’t pollute the air in a manner we believe it does; it does pollute it in a different way. Diesel causes more of a visible pollution then gas does. When burned diesel produces nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. These contribute to visible pollutants, smog, and lower air quality. Both fuels create pollution, not just diesel, yet the EPA and government regulation is tightening down on NOx and CO emissions. While this does annoy me and other diesel owners it is actually going to be good for diesels in the long run. This regulation is helping to create cleaner and even more efficient diesel vehicles. With time, new technologies, and the push from tight regulation diesels will become cleaner burning then gas with lower carbon dioxide emissions and nitrogen oxide emissions near equal to gas.
Then there’s the falsehood that diesel engines are fuel guzzling machines. Once again this is far from the truth. A gallon of diesel produces twice as much energy as a gallon of gas, that’s not an opinion that’s a fact backed by chemistry. Because of its chemical efficiency diesel engines are also mechanically efficient with greater MPG then equivalent gas engines. Many European countries have realized this and taxed gas more than diesel fuel to promote the use of more fuel efficient cars.
What about the “fact” every American thinks they know about diesel being more expensive to refine from oil then gas? This one is not a fact but is also not 100% wrong. Yes diesel cost more to refine here in the U.S. but that is only because of the high demand here in the states for gas. It’s the basic law of supply and demand that we are all taught. With so many people thinking gas is the only smart choice between the two the demand for it sky rocketed. With this high demand more refineries focus on gas and ways to extract it and worry about diesel latter. Following this supply and demand rule we simply see cheaper refining cost for gas then for diesel. Go to a country with a higher demand and public appeal for diesel, Germany for example, and the refining cost for diesel will be lower than gas. Here in the U.S. we put unjust taxes and rates on diesel that have seen it almost rich prices almost a dollar more than gas.
All these misconceptions of diesel are not just the fault of a gas only minded person. Many of my fellow diesel owners have pushed people who are not normally around diesel pickups or cars to believe this. Every teenager, or adult stuck in their teens, who loves to straight pipe their pickup, pull the muffler off, and get rid of any emission filters they can, then roar down the street blowing black smoke is hurting the diesel engine image and industry. They give people the wrong beliefs about diesel and I don’t blame them for believing every bad thing they hear about diesel engines, especially if they’re never around them.
I’m not saying that you should get rid of your gas car or pickup and go get yourself a diesel. We all have the right to choose what we want. What I am saying is that the next time you buy a new vehicle give a diesel car or truck a look before you decide on a car.