Electric cars and hybrid cars get the lion’s share of media coverage as our country tries to find ways to end the dependency of cars on petroleum. For this reason, most folks interested in buying a new car or truck really do not give diesel engines much thought.
They should, as these marvels of technology are very much misunderstood. Let’s use this space to clear up some of the biggest misconceptions about diesel engines of today.
Myth 1: Diesels Are Dirty and Loud
Today, the technology used in manufacturing diesel engines as well as the new standards for diesel fuel makes diesel engines cleaner than gas engines at the tailpipe. And automotive engineering has eliminated the clickety-clack sounds at idle that diesel cars were once known for.
Myth #2: Diesel Engines Won't Start In The Winter
There was a time when, in very cold weather, it took great effort to start a diesel engine that was not connected to a heating block. Public garages in places like Minnesota equipped some stalls in parking garages with plug-in heating blocks for diesel cars.
Today, manufacturers build heating blocks right into the engine design so the glow plugs keep the engine and diesel fuel at the right temperature for a quick start.
Myth #3: Diesel Engines are Slow and Sluggish
The diesel engines of twenty and thirty years ago would most likely cost you your pink slip, were you to race it. But modern diesel-powered vehicles get more horsepower from diesel fuel than a gas engine can get from burning gas. There’s more energy in a gallon of diesel than in a gallon of gasoline – diesel fuel is muscle fuel. Diesel engines can reach 350 HP and more. As far as performance goes, diesel-fueled cars have even won the last six French 24 Hour Le Mans Endurance races. So there must be something to them.
Myth #4: Diesel Fuel is Hard to Find
This myth is from so long ago, it’s hard to believe anyone still holds to it. It’s so easy to blow this myth to smithereens – next time you go to fill your gasoline-powered car up, look at the pumps. Chances are that you will see a button for diesel on the pump or a separate pump on the same island. There is no shortage of diesel fuel for cars. If you think about it, this is similar to the state of affairs for the availability of LPG vehicle fuel, which is very hard to find. Maybe in the near future, LPG will be just as easy to find as diesel fuel is now.
This post was published on July 11, 2014 and was updated on January 22, 2016.