Diesel Engines Gaining Respect Again

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

Diesel Engines Gaining Respect Again


Byline: Susan Frissell

As more and more auto buyers look for power, fuel economy and longevity in an automobile's engine, diesel engine sales are increasing. Recent sales figures show pickup trucks are steadily increasing in popularity. With this increase, sales of diesel- powered pickup trucks has grown as well. According to Polk Automotive Intelligence 2000 sales figures, approximately 47 percent of all pickups with at least 8,500 pound gross vehicle weight rating were purchased with diesel engines.

This trend-a 6.34 percent growth from 1999-can be identified with Americans wanting more for their money when buying a truck, van or sport-utility-vehicle. Auto buyers are beginning to take advantage of new technology. As the diesel engine has evolved into a viable alternative to standard gasoline engines, it is fast becoming the most economical choice for towing boats, RV's and horse trailers. Two out of three people buying best selling Ford F- Series Super Duty pickups choose the Power Stroke Diesel engine.

Diesel engines have no spark plugs, relying rather on the compression of charged air in the cylinder to ignite the fuel-air mixture. For this reason, diesel engines have a higher compression ratio than gasoline engines and higher compression ratios allow diesels to be more thermally efficient, which means producing more horsepower with less fuel.

American car buyers are doing their homework and appreciate such facts as diesel power offering 30 to 60 percent better fuel economy, easier maintenance and longer engine life than gasoline engines. According to Dan Ustian, president, engine group at International Truck and Engine Corporation, manufacturer of Ford's Power Stroke Diesel engine, diesel owners realize substantial savings in fuel totaling equal or better than the cost of the engine after only one year or two of service. Added savings can be had from fewer trips to the mechanic due to the overall durability of a diesel.

Facts indicate that diesel usage has also increased in Europe, powering over one-third of all automobiles. This is especially important as gas prices are $3 to $4 per gallon. As gasoline prices head upward in the U.S. …

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