The Pros and Cons of a Diesel Engine

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The Pros and Cons of a Diesel Engine

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the right car for you.

It might seem odd that some cars are available with diesel engines. According to an article at TrustedChoice.com, until recently, most diesel-powered vehicles were trucks as diesel motors were better suited for large, heavy vehicles like school buses and tractor-trailers. But that is changing. Carmakers are producing more passenger cars with diesel engines each year, and more care buyers are making the switch.

In today’s world, diesels are designed to run on a new, low-sulfur version of diesel fuel, often called clean diesel, which produces less pollution and cuts back on that sooty smell that used to be typical to diesel vehicles.

CON: Higher upfront costs. Diesel models are typically going to cost a bit more if you’re shopping mainstream brands.

PRO: Diesels are more powerful. Diesel vehicles often have more torque, which is the twisting force that can make your car quicker from a stop or help your truck tow a heavy trailer.

CON: It doesn’t have the high-speed performance. Although diesel fuel is considered more efficient because it converts heat into energy rather than sending the heat out the tailpipe as gas-powered vehicles do, it doesn’t result in flashy high-speed performance. If you are looking for a quick car off the line, diesel probably isn’t the way to go.

PRO: Better fuel economy. With the exception of heavy-duty trucks, diesel models typically offer better fuel economy than their gas-powered counterparts. CarsDirect reports that a diesel car will frequently get about 30 percent more miles per gallon than the same car with a gasoline-powered engine. When it comes to a truck or SUV, the difference in gas mileage is usually about 20 percent higher than a gasoline-powered truck or SUV.

CON: Diesel is more expensive than gasoline. Paying more than the cost of premium fuel may be hard for you to come to terms with. However, since diesel engines get better gas mileage, your trips to the pump will be less frequent. Even with the increased cost of diesel, you can expect to pay less in fuel costs each year.

PRO: Diesels excel most in highway miles. If a majority of your driving is done on the highway, a diesel is a major plus.

CON: Not the best for city driving. If the bulk of your driving involves frequent stopping and starting for traffic, lights, and stop signs, your mileage difference will be far less apparent and you may be better off with a hybrid or gasoline-engine.

According to Auto Repair for Dummies, diesel technology is constantly being improved. The government has pressured companies to produce low-emission diesel engines for passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, and farm and construction equipment. It’s resulted in low-sulfur diesel fuels, specialized catalytic converters, advanced filters, and other devices to cut down or destroy toxic emissions. This all adds up to more choices for consumers.

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photo credit: The Mighty Diesel via photopin (license)

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