Ford Trucks Com Forums – When people think of diesel engines that they usually think of is a loud roar, pulling out a foul-smelling, thick, black exhaust. So why is diesel fuel now called a clean alternative to gas? Simply put, diesel fuel today is far different from yesterday’s diesel fuel. Because new clean diesel technology – the introduction of very low sulfur diesel fuel – diesel is now as clean as gasoline.
Because of low sulfur diesel fuel, diesel-powered cars can now use catalytic converters, filters, and other exhaust gases, removing diesel from foul-smelling pollutants. What makes diesel engines better for the environment than gasoline-powered engines is the better mileage provided by diesel. Diesel engines are on average about 30% more efficient than gas engines, which means that if you have a diesel-powered car or truck, you burn 30% less fuel.
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Given the striking difference in mileage, buying a light car or truck powered by diesel as opposed to gasoline does not seem to be an option. Unfortunately, there are other considerations that make decisions far more complex; in particular, the cost of diesel-powered vehicles, the difference in the cost of diesel fuel versus gasoline, and the availability of diesel-powered cars and light trucks.
Vehicle Costs: Because diesel engines need to be modified to meet EPA standards to burn cleaner fuel you can expect to pay premiums for diesel-powered vehicles compared to similar gas-powered vehicles while also sacrificing wholesale power. Based on data from Edmunds.com on July 1, 2010, you will pay a substantial amount for diesel fuel rather than a gas-powered vehicle. The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is diesel with the most reasonable price at this time with MSRP of $ 22,830. This is more than $ 600 more expensive than the gas-powered 2010 VW Jetta, and you sacrifice horsepower, but you will get an average of 8 miles more per gallon. If you are in the market for a diesel SUV, the 2010 Audi Q7 diesel will cost you more than $ 4,000, and have 55 fewer horsepower. You can expect to average 4.5 miles more per gallon with the diesel version.
Obviously, you will pay more for a diesel engine, but a diesel engine will last longer than a gasoline engine. For those who plan to reduce cars or trucks in 3 to 5 years, this means diesel engines will depreciate more slowly, so you can sell vehicles at more prices. For those who plan to hold their diesel to death, this means reducing maintenance costs and longer life expectancy because it is unheard of that a diesel engine lasts for 250,000 miles or more.
Fuel Costs: Because of better fuel efficiency, diesel engines provide you with saving fuel, but if you consider diesel because of its fuel efficiency, you need to take into account the cost of diesel fuel compared to gas costs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the price of diesel fuel is approximately $ 0.20 per gallon, more expensive than gasoline. Part of the difference in prices is due to the fact that diesel fuel is taxed around 25 percent higher than gasoline. Federal taxes accounted for 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel but only 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline. A higher price for diesel fuel partially offsets the cost savings you have from better mileage. If the price of gas and diesel fuel are the same, you will pay $ 400 more per year for gas for the Audi A3 that is driven as far as 12,000 miles, but because of the difference in fuel prices, the amount of diesel fuel savings is only $ 300 per year.
Another consideration related to fuel costs is the proximity of the nearest diesel pump. According to the Diesel Technology Forum, less than half of the local gas stations in the United States also offer diesel fuel. This means potentially having to drive an additional one or two miles to fill your tank, which in turn will offset some of the fuel efficiency savings.
Vehicle Availability: According to practical environmentalist.com there are a number of 2011 diesel models available. For car buyers with a budget of less than $ 20,000 they have to wait at least another year before vehicles in their price range are available. In addition, families who want a diesel minivan must also wait until 2012 and so on. The reason there are no more models available is that it is expensive to upgrade a standard diesel engine to meet the US “clean diesel” standard. The most popular models available are Audi A3, Audi Q7, BMW 335d, BMW X5 xDrive 35d, Dodge Ram 2500, Dodge Ram 3500, Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ford F-350 Super Duty, Ford F-350 Super Duty, Ford F-250 Super Duty, Sierra 2500 HD GMC, Sierra GM 3500 HD, Mercedes-Benz ML350, Mercedes-Benz GL350, Mercedes-Benz R350, Volkswagen Touareg TDI, Jetta TDI, Jetta SportWagen TDI, and Volkswagen Golf.
Until the cost of developing diesel engines that comply with EPA’s clean diesel standards goes down and the government eliminates tax losses on purchasing diesel fuel, car and light truck manufacturers will not produce diesel engines at the same level as gas-powered vehicles. But for people who want a reliable car that will last 10+ years diesel engines are a good alternative to gas or hybrids because of lower maintenance costs and longer life expectancy.
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