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Gap in fuel efficiency and torque between diesel and gasoline engines is dwindling

Diesel engines are very popular around the world, and are used in both passenger and commercial vehicles due to their efficiency advantages over gasoline engines. In the U.S. passenger vehicle market, they’re largely relegated to heavy-duty pickup trucks (although companies like Volkswagen have maintained a diesel engine lineup for a few decades). 
However, diesel fuel averages roughly $0.36 a gallon more than regular unleaded gasoline in the U.S., which can erase some of the cost advantage.

While many diesel-powered vehicles do have better fuel economy than comparable gasoline vehicles, even that benefit is beginning to disappear. In spite of this, many automakers are preparing to launch diesel-powered cars in the U.S., including GM, Chrysler, and Mazda.

Volkswagen Passat TDI

Detroit News reports that diesel engines in cars no longer have a major advantage in torque and they don't offer significantly better fuel economy. Technology for traditional gasoline engines is improving and the gap in fuel efficiency and torque has vanished due to the proliferation of direct injection and turbocharging.

With this in mind, Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai are staying out of the diesel-powered car market; instead focusing hybrid technology. Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik says that the cost of adding hybrid technology for the consumers about $1,500 compared to a cost of about $5,000 to add diesel power.
"When we ask if consumers are willing to pay that, they ask, 'What are you smoking?'" said Krafcik. "We all have great diesel engines available to us, but gasoline engines are growing."
However, Ford says that it is ready to begin offering diesel-powered cars in the U.S. if there is enough consumer demand

Source: Detroit News

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No kidding
By Argon18 on 4/3/2013 9:49:47 AM , Rating: 4
Of course Ford, Toyota, and Hyundai are going to poo-poo modern clean diesel engines which are superior in terms of torque and fuel efficiency. Of course they're going to say gasoline engines are "better" because that's the only thing they offer right now in the US. I'm sure those same marketing execs are running ad campaigns in Europe talking about how superior diesel engines are to gasoline! It's old fashioned regional market advertising.

These innovations that they claim have improved gasoline engines - turbocharging, direct injection, etc. all came from diesels. Diesels had it first, because diesels are ~10 years (or more) ahead of gasoline engines in terms of technology.

Variable geometry turbos appeared on diesels starting in the late 90's. It wasn't until 2010 that they appeared on gasoline cars, and even then it was only very high end cars (think 911 turbo).

Direct injection has been on diesels since 1989, while it's only just made it to gasoline in the past 3 years.

RE: No kidding
By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 10:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of parts of diesel engines aren't perfectly analagous to equivalent parts of gasoline engines so it doesn't really make sense to say one is "x years ahead".

For example, if a gasoline engine is not direct injection it means the fuel injector is seperated from the cylinder by the valves whereas in a diesel engine that is not direct injection it means there is a prechamber into which fuel is injected attached to the cylinder but with no valve in between. It seems like a minor distinction, but very different things are happening for very different reasons.

You are right about the article being nonsense though. Even with modern technology the percentage of energy going to actually moving the vehicle is a lot better in diesels than gasoline engines particularly when pulling a load where diesels benefit from torque rise.

RE: No kidding
By Spuke on 4/3/2013 4:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
gasoline engines particularly when pulling a load where diesels benefit from torque rise.
So torque doesn't rise in a gasoline engine?

RE: No kidding
By lagomorpha on 4/4/2013 7:30:49 AM , Rating: 2
So torque doesn't rise in a gasoline engine?

Not as load increases.

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