Gasoline Engine Fuel Efficiency Catches up with Diesel Technology
April 3, 2013 9:30 AM
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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
Volkswagen Passat TDI
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
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RE: diesel vs. gasoline?
4/3/2013 2:02:10 PM
I just wish General Motors hadn't cancelled Saab's variable compression ratio technology just before it was ready. It would have allowed gasoline engines to run at very high efficiency 16:1 compression ratio while maintaining highway speed, and dropped as low as 8:1 at full throttle with the turbo fully spooled up. This would have allowed for turbocharged cars to run on lower octane fuel and significantly improved gas mileage while adding power.
Unfortunately GM is GM and there's nothing the old guys running the company hate more than updating their technology.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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