The Reason for Diesel

I’ve been tooting the horn of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel a lot lately.  In fact I recently lamented how Ram was forcing my hand.  It’s a topic that cannot be shaken from my mind when it comes to current automotive opinion.  In North America we are very much wanting for diesel engines.  Lax manufacturing requirements and an obsession with petrol (gas) has relegated diesel engines to full sized one tonne trucks.  Really, who’s going to buy one of those?  Except me of course.

There is a reason the introduction of a mid-sized diesel into light duty pickups has got me so hot and bothered.  Now I’ve heard that GM is offering a diesel option in their new Canyon.  I’d never buy one of those ever (it’s not a real truck.  Argument closed.) but bravo for introducing a diesel!  With a little luck one will find it’s way into the Sierra lineup.  Then I will dance happily in the streets.  They also have a small diesel in their Cruze.  Almost makes the car palatable.  Ford seems hung up on turbo charged gas engines.  I hope and pray someday they too will see the light.  But I digress.

Diesel engines are just better.  Sure they have slower acceleration and have been traditionally noisier and dirtier than their petrol brethren.  These downsides have been substantially reduced or outright eliminated within the last 5 years.  If you’ve typically snubbed your nose at diesel or just know nothing about them, perhaps it’s time to consider them again.  In everything.  Here’s why.

Highway Mileage

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way.  Companies like Volkswagen have long touted the extended range of their TDI engines.  Good reason too.  A small diesel engine is capable of getting you more than one thousand highway kilometers to a tank, and a small tank at that.  Even more impressive is what the 3L V6 TDI engine does in mid-sized SUVs like the Audi Q7 or Porsche Cayenne.  These hefty fellows have an astounding 1450km range.  They also seat five comfortably.  This is a mind boggling number when you consider the vehicle it’s in.  Ram claims a 25% improvement on their current gas V6 with the EcoDiesel; maths put that at about 40-41 highway MPG.  In a pickup!  With gas prices these days this becomes a very strong argument for diesel.

Towing

Perhaps not something you really care all that much about.  In the world of cars this really has no place.  SUVs and pickups, however, are another story entirely.  Anyone who owns a gas hauler and pulls any kind of RV will tell you how bad mileage can get.  This is because gas engines have to rev very high to achieve their torque.  Torque which pales in comparison with much smaller diesel engines.  As such, a diesel engine, which get gobs of torque early on in the rev curve, drastically minimizes this mileage drain effect.  Not only do they tow efficiently, they tow better.  Diesel engines are stronger all around, their nature has always made them enthusiastically capable hauling power plants.  Even the Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7/VW Toureg can haul 7,500 pounds with the diesel.  Spanks their petrol competition.

Longer lasting

Diesel vehicles, both cars and trucks, are notoriously reliable.  Most diesel engines have been around for a while.  Unlike gasoline engines, which use increasingly complex electronic systems to achieve efficiency, diesels are brutish and simple.  Their rough and noisy exterior is a direct result of their simplicity.  So is their reliability.  Larger diesels in trucks have proven time and time again that they can show up, do the job and go home again no matter how abused they are.  Diesel cars rack up hundreds of thousands of kilometers on the highway, bravely charging on while the body falls apart around them.  A diesel power plant in any vehicle is one that is with you for the long haul.  Statistically speaking a diesel will stay with you longer than your spouse will.  Fact.

Value holders

Nothing hurts buying a car than depreciation.  You feel the sting of it when you leave the lot.  Wait, that guy who just drove off the lot with a diesel SuperDuty didn’t wince.  Hey!  That lady in the TDI is smiling as she drove away.  Welcome to the world of diesels.  Because of their stubborn and hard working nature they are in high demand.  Trucks with diesels are worth much more than their gas twins, even identically equipped.  That little diesel engine under the bonnet may be the thing that protects your Cruze from being bitten by depreciation.  Used diesels are highly desired and hard to come by; simply because they’re still out there working hard.

Apocalypse friendly

I’m going to be strait up here.  This here is the main reason I love diesels, by a long shot.  Whether it be by asteroid, zombie, economic collapse, fire and brimstone or second coming, nothing will get you through the apocalypse like a diesel.  We all know that anybody in a doomsday situation with a working vehicle is a popular person indeed.  Transportation will be rare.  So will fuel.  Horded gasoline in preparation for this day?  Too bad, did you know petrol goes bad after a short while?  It does, separation renders it useless.  Not diesel fuel.  But wait zombie fans, there’s more!

Not only will your drums of diesel keep while you wait for the end of the world, once they run out you’re surrounded by fuel!  All you have to do is hit up your local restaurant and empty their fryer, filtered clean, into your fuel tank.  You’ll be on the road again and your exhaust will smell deliciously french fry-ish.  You can also manufacture vegetable oil relatively easily.  Or canola oil.  Or soya oil.  Essentially any vegetable based oil will do just nicely.  So while the rest of the world suffers with no means of locomotion you and your diesel friends will rule the roads, highways and byways.

Truly the diesels will inherit the earth.

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