Diesel Engines Forgotten Treasures

There are very few engine configurations that promise

increased fuel economy and power. There are few

engines that offer this in addition to reliability.

Today, those across the ocean are enjoying the

fruits of diesel technology revolution.

Diesels have experienced a great history here in the

United States. In 1980, General Motors modified

their 350ci gas V8 to run on diesel fuel. The result

however, wasn’t that god. These engines offered

better fuel economy but little else. They were

very slow, and not very reliable.

Mercedes Benz on the other hand, had better luck

in the 1980s with an array of vehicles available

with diesel engines. These great vehicles offered

amazing durability although they were rough, noisy,

and smoked quite a bit. Volkswagon offered diesel

as well, although they had a habit for spewing

blue smoke from the tail pipe.

Throughout the 90s, Benz and Volkwagon offered

diesel vehicles in the United States, with each

generation becoming cleaner, smoother, and more

powerful than the last. Overall, they were a

tough sell as they still lacked the horsepower

that many were seeking.

Today, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Volkswagon, Ford,

and many other manufacturers are offering diesels

to many markets throughout the world. To put it

simple, forget everything you know or think you

know about diesel engines in the United States.

These newer engines benefit from hundreds of

technical innovations. There are several diesels

in Europe that offer better acceleration than

their gasoline counter parts. BMW’s 120d has

163bhp, goes 0 – 60 in under 8 seconds, and

achieves 49.6 miles per gallon.

Benz offers the C320 CDI SE that has 224bhp, and

over 360 lb foot of torque. This car gets just

under 48 mpg on the highway, with an acceleration

of 0 – 60 in under 7 seconds. Throughout North

America, you won’t find a gasoline engine that

offers this unique blend of fuel economy and

excellent performance.

The reason why diesels haven’t caught on in

North America comes down to one word – sulfur. We

have too much sulfur in the diesel here in the

United States. This cheap grade of diesel fuel

will run havoc on the more sophisticated diesels

offered overseas and cause an increase in

emissions.

There is hope however, as refiners will soon be

producing what is known as ultra low sulfur

diesel fuel. This will help to reduce the sulfur

content from 500ppm to 15ppm.

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