Diesel engines might be over a century old, but they’re far from obsolete. In fact, they will likely grow their market share by more than 100% in the next five years, specifically in the pickup truck segment due to their better MPG. But aside from that surge in popularity, why should you go for a diesel -powered engine in 2024? What are the good and the bad of driving diesel cars or trucks? And what’s new for the diesel industry in terms of innovations and developments?
Well, in this article, we will provide the answer to these questions and many others and show you why diesel engines are a smart investment for your next new car purchase. We will also tell you about the improvements made to diesel models over the years by top manufacturers such as Audi, GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, ultimately helping you make the best purchase for your fleet’s bottom line.
Qualities of Diesel Engine Vehicles
You should go for a diesel car if any of the qualities we’ll mention here is attractive to you:
- They are very efficient
We’re talking about 25 – 30% savings on consumption as compared to conventional petrol engines, and that is a fantastic and crazy difference. They also have a greater capacity of energy per liter, so you get extended range on a single liter. A full tank just might get you across entire states. Diesel engines also release less CO2 than gasoline engines do, allowing for the reduction of greenhouse effects and global warming.
- They are exceptionally reliable
Diesel engines compare favorably with regular gas engines as far as durability is concerned. They can manage high compression ratios and pressures, and they can take you up to 350,000 miles (about 563270.4 km) before you need any costly repairs. With no spark plugs, reactors, or distributors to speak of, they need way less maintenance and ignition tuning. They also have a more efficient fuel ratio and employ compression ignition, which increases their longevity and performance. That’s a win if ever there was one.
- They are immensely powerful
Diesel engines provide not only a lot of torque but also power, which makes them suitable for towing or carrying big loads. They have a torque output capacity of 1,050 lb-ft of torque, and this makes them have exceptional speed and performance. It also boasts a high-value low-end torque. This means you can pull weight from a standstill and climb steep slopes in second gear. Provided you have the tires for it.
- They are flexible
Biodiesel is a vegetable-oil- or animal-fat-derived eco-friendly energy source for diesel vehicles. With biodiesel, you can reduce the toxicity of the exhaust gases your vehicle produces engine and improve its lubrication, thus further increasing the lifespan of your engine. You also have synthetic diesel as an option, derived from natural gas or biomass, which also has low impurities and high energy density compared to conventional diesel.
Obviously, with these qualities, diesel engines are an obvious pick among the range of options you have for modes of transportation, especially if you’re a mileage monster. It does not matter if you’re looking for a diesel-powered car, truck, SUV, or luxury passenger car; there’re plenty of choices on the market in the United States. Plus, if you spend a lot of time on the highways, you stand to save a lot of money in fuel costs. Additionally, diesel engines are known for their durability, making them a popular choice for off-road travel and powering farm equipment.
Or you can take a moment to look up the best 10 diesel cars of 2024, and you will see why diesel engines are worth looking at. The big names are on that list.
The Challenges of Diesel Engines
We’ve looked at various advantages of diesel engines like their fuel economy and efficiency, power, and long mileage (without maintenance). But they are not perfect (as much as we’d like them to be), so here are some of the things you might not like about diesel engine vehicles:
- They can harm the environment
In contrast to gasoline engines, diesel engines generate more NOx and PM emissions. These are noxious pollutants that affect the quality of air and human health. But manufacturers aren’t heartless. In order to control these emission levels, modern diesel vehicles have several devices like Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC). These devices work together to reduce harmful emissions and filter out the soot particles. However, they will add to your maintenance costs. The DPF and SCR may sometimes need cleaning or replacement, and trust me, that’s not a cheap or fast process. Additionally, the newest diesel vehicles comply with the very latest EU6 emissions standards, making them suitable for driving anywhere in Europe.
On the bright side, though, diesel engine technology has been made cleaner and more in compliance with the EU 6 emissions standards, which translates to less pollution and a more friendly environment for most European drivers and even those beyond the continent.
- They can struggle in wintry weather
When the temperature drops too low, diesel engines may have difficulty in performing, due to the diesel becoming too thick or gelled, like oil or honey, and blocking proper combustion. This also can affect the battery capacity, aggravating the situation. One of the ways manufacturers – bless them! – have tried to solve this problem is with additives, heaters, or glow plugs to help the fuel flow and ignite better.
They also include high-pressure common rail technology in manufacturing diesel engines, which helps to improve the engine performance and efficiency during chilly weather. Now you can park your car out in the snow without fear.
- They can be noisy and rough
Unlike gasoline engines, diesel ones are noisy and rough, and this is attributable to their heavier components and higher pressures. Well, no one can blame you for wanting less noise level and more smoothness from your investment. And while the noise and vibration of modern diesel engines have significantly improved with better insulation and refinement, the fact remains that today’s diesel engines are not as quiet as gasoline powertrains are. This vibration is also hell on the tires, contributing to tire wear and increasing your maintenance costs.
Another factor that might contribute to your rejection of diesel engines is the lower RPM limit than gasoline engines, it causes less responsiveness. That’s not much fun.
But life is all about balance, so diesel engines have higher internal combustion pressures that improve the steering, and they’re quieter. When towing with these things, you experience less stress overall, making for a smoother and more enjoyable towing experience. Over 7 million drivers (about twice the population of Oklahoma) use diesel vehicles in the States, and there’s a reason for it. You can’t have that much torque from any other kind of vehicle, especially when equipped with a Power Stroke engine. It’s like it’s designed for towing.
The Future of Diesel Engines
Diesel engines are not going anywhere anytime soon. Despite the strict environmental regulations, public health concerns, and competition from other alternative fuels, they have overcome many challenges and remain strong to this day.
Due to the constant technological innovations, modern diesel engines are cleaner (we’ve covered that already, as well as how it’s done) and more efficient than ever. They surpassed the emission standards a while back, reducing their environmental impact. In fact, they keep going, with the innovation of hybrid diesel versions.
Hybrid Diesel Vehicles
These vehicles combine the power and mileage of diesel engines with the fun and cleanliness of electric motors so you can have the best of both worlds. Some of the most popular and upcoming vehicles are now available or will soon be in hybrid diesel versions. We’re looking at:
- The Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid, a powerful and versatile pickup truck that can also serve as a mobile generator.
- The Jeep Wrangler 4xe, for the rugged and adventurous. This one can switch between electric, hybrid, and gas modes.
- The Volvo XC90 Recharge, a luxurious and spacious SUV that offers a smooth and quiet ride with a plug-in hybrid system.
- The BMW X5 xDrive45e, a sporty and elegant SUV that combines a turbocharged engine with an electric motor for a dynamic performance.
These are just some examples of the amazing diesel hybrid vehicles available (or coming) to showrooms near you in 2024. So, if you want torquey acceleration without sacrificing fuel economy or your carbon footprint — not to mention fuel savings — one might be right for you!
Cleaner Diesel Fuels
We’ve mentioned how diesel engines have become a lot cleaner using a host of devices to take out the harmfuls in stages. You might also remember us mentioning something about biodiesel and synthetic diesel. These fuels are cleaner than the usual.
They come from natural or synthetic sources like biomass, waste, or natural gas, and naturally, they’re either like or better than regular diesel oil, which makes them burn cleaner and more efficiently. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has promoted the benefits of cleaner diesel fuels, leading to the following developments:
- The introduction of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), which emits much less pollution than older diesel fuels. This allows diesel engines to outperform gasoline engines in terms of emissions.
- The adoption of renewable diesel as an alternative to fossil fuels. It’s a type of biofuel that can decrease greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional diesel. But it doesn’t stop there. The cetane number in renewable diesel is higher and its sulfur content is lower than conventional diesel, which improves the engine’s performance and lifespan. And the best part? You can make the switch anytime you want without opening your engine up, because it’s made from the same chemicals as regular diesel. You can get renewable fuel from some top names like Neste, REG, and Phillips 66. You can probably find something good at your local gas station.
- The innovation of synthetic diesel, a fuel that can reduce NOx and PM emissions by up to 90% compared to the usual diesel. It also has higher energy density and lower impurities than conventional diesel. Translation: your engine will love it, and it’ll last for you. Synthetic diesel can also run in any diesel engine without needing to change anything in your engine. You can get synthetic fuel from Audi, Shell, and Sasol.
So, Why Should You Consider a Diesel Engine Vehicle?
Diesel engines might have a few unattractive qualities like higher emissions, poorer wintry weather performance, and noisiness, but with the help of advanced technology and alternative fuels, you can make these problems disappear. Here’s how:
- Emissions control: Lowering hazardous discharges can be achieved with such devices as diesel particulate filters, selective catalytic reduction, and exhaust gas recirculation in diesel engines.
- Cold start: To make it easier to start in freezing weather, you can use glow plugs, block heaters, or biodiesel blends.
- Noise reduction: Sound levels are reduced by providing insulation sound injection timing or common rail systems.
Diesel engines have also taken part in the hybridization and greening trends to become eco-friendlier and more competitive.
So, if you are curious about buying one of these here are some things to think about when purchasing a new vehicle:
- Research and compare before deciding on anything
- Check out what’s latest from other makers that will suit your needs better
- Consider fuel availability and price at your place
- Maintenance costs should also be borne in mind since they may need more frequent service or high-quality parts unlike gasoline cars
But one thing you can be sure of is that the resale value of your diesel vehicle will be greater than you think three years down the line.
If you need any help or advice on diesel engine vehicles, don’t be afraid to hit up Phoenix Diesel Repair. We’re the best when it comes to repair and service for these types of engines. Offering not only the highest quality but also the lowest prices possible. You’ll find exactly what you’re looking for with us and more! From custom work to general Q&A’s, we’ve got all your diesel needs covered in Colorado. Check out our website now for more details.