When someone mentions diesel, many people still have the image of a loud and obnoxious machine that is hard to start in the cold weather. This may have been true twenty to thirty years ago, but could not be further from the truth today! With all of the advancements in engine and emissions technology; diesel has become the new standard in fuel economy and power while still maintaining strict pollution standards as mandated by the EPA. As C.J. Baker explained here, “Diesel development has come a long way, but the public perception of diesel is lagging 25 years behind...but the bottom line is still the same. Modern diesels are quick, powerful, quiet, easy to start in the cold, and don't smoke.”(Baker 2). Therefore I have chosen modern diesel as my topic, to help shine some light on the misunderstood beast that we call diesel. Also I hope to inform the public, that there is alternative technologies to gasoline and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, that perform a multitude of times better, while not damaging the environment.
The way a diesel engine operates is drastically different from gasoline, instead of a spark plug pulsing seventeen times a second to initiate the explosion of the fuel, diesel relies on compression to generate the heat required to ignite, and create the explosion of the fuel. Also because of this diesel engines need to be built much stronger to endure the high-compression ratios required to contain the explosion. According to Lucy Lazarony, diesel cars and trucks provide twenty to thirty percent better fuel economy than comparable gasoline models (para. 1). This is because down to a molecular state diesel has “eleven percent more energy per gallon”(Baker, para. 7). The fuel economy difference is even more drastic while towing, averaging to about a forty percent gain. This equals out to less fuel consumption, less fill-ups, and more money saved. Which to someone like Gordon Fisher, whose business relies on his 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel to deliver heavy loads of hay tipping the scales at 40,000lbs, while still maintaining fuel economy that is twice that of his old 454 Chevy; diesel is a life saver(1). Next is cetane, cetane is as stated here by Keith Browning “...a measure of a fuel's ignition delay.”(para. 2), and is comparable in importance to a gasoline engines octane rating. This is important because a low quality diesel fuel, with a low cetane number will cause; poor performance, white smoke, and lower fuel economy (para. 2). Another plus for diesel, is that in a basic sense it is a very light oil, this helps by providing lubrication to major parts engine parts such as; fuel pumps, injection pumps, and fuel injectors.
In the recent years the EPA has made some mandatory changes in the way diesel fuel is refined, and the amount of equipment that is required to reduce the emissions output of greenhouse gases. These changes include the change from LSD (Low Sulfur...