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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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How do they figure
By FITCamaro on 4/3/2013 9:54:34 AM , Rating: 1
You look at a truck like the Dodge Ram that will be offered with a diesel. Better fuel economy with the same torque as a V8. Trucks like the Silverado HD and Ford F250 get much better fuel economy in diesel trim than their gas powered brothers.

The biggest thing with diesels preventing their fuel economy from being even better is the federal government. Emissions are so tight in the US that it kills the mileage.




RE: How do they figure
By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 10:11:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Emissions are so tight in the US that it kills the mileage.


Not to mention massively drives up their price. Somehow in the US it costs $5,000 extra for a diesel option but in Europe there's little price difference and often diesel is the cheaper option. Yes, diesel engines do have to be built much stronger than the equivalent gasoline engine but not nearly $5,000 worth of metal stronger.


RE: How do they figure
By Manch on 4/3/2013 10:17:00 AM , Rating: 2
In the US, you're basically paying for all the emmisions crap they tack onto the diesels. And then theres the urea too. Still in a truck that I use for hauling, I'll take a diesel over a gas engine any day of the week.


RE: How do they figure
By mcnabney on 4/3/2013 10:22:03 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that the $5k cost difference mentioned in the article is BS. While equivalently performing (in HP) engines will cost slightly more in diesel form, the $5k is just not true. Maybe this exec from Hyundai was looking at Ford price lists and saw that the largest diesel engine option in an F350 had a $5k premium, but neglected to also consider that it offered double the HP and torque over the stock engine?


RE: How do they figure
By Argon18 on 4/3/2013 10:23:34 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed. The other factor for diesels, at least in trucks, is that none of the Big-3 make their own diesel truck engines. Chrysler buys them from Cummins. GM buys them from Isuzu. And Ford buys from International (Navistar) and Cummins. So there's always going to be a higher cost differential when you're buying from someone else, vs. building it yourself.

For cars its a different story. Ford sells loads of diesel cars in Europe, and the cost is about the same as the gasoline models. Heck, even Chrysler sells diesel cars in Europe. Diesel PT cruiser, for example, and it costs the same as the gasoline version.


RE: How do they figure
By bchandler02 on 4/3/2013 10:51:26 AM , Rating: 3
Wrong. Ford never bought from Cummins (at least not in the F550 or smaller). They also haven't been with Navistar in a few years either. The 6.7 Scorpion in the current F series is 100% Ford.


RE: How do they figure
By Samus on 4/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: How do they figure
By Kazinji on 4/3/2013 9:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
But so few diesels get sold here so you have to recoup the cost of developing the diesel. Taxes on diesel fuel is higher in US. Where in EU diesel taxes are lower to encourage the use of diesel. Since so many diesel version of the of a model is sold in EU they can recoup the cost easily with a minimal mark up for extra materials.


RE: How do they figure
By Strunf on 4/4/2013 7:58:23 AM , Rating: 2
The EU taxes less diesel fuel cause it's mainly used by companies, at first diesel was only used on trucks and agricultural machines, that's slowing changing and I don't have any doubt they will either tax both gas and diesel at the same rate or make it different prices depending on the use.


RE: How do they figure
By lagomorpha on 4/4/2013 9:06:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But so few diesels get sold here so you have to recoup the cost of developing the diesel.


Or, you know, this might be one case where the US EPA could actually work with whatever agencies are responsible for emissions controls in Europe to create unified emissions standards such that cars only had to meet one set of requirements instead of having to be approved seperately for both markets.


RE: How do they figure
By Jeffk464 on 4/3/2013 11:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
You left out another advantage of diesel, it is far less likely to burn if you get in a wreck.


RE: How do they figure
By lagomorpha on 4/3/2013 12:03:19 PM , Rating: 2
Which is the reason that all schoolbuses in the US are now required to be diesel but how many consumers actually would pay extra just to reduce their chanes of dieing in a fire? That's really a niche feature.


RE: How do they figure
By ianweck on 4/5/2013 11:24:43 AM , Rating: 2
I think the article is talking about cars, not trucks.


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