Think you know everything there is to know about diesel fuel? Let’s put it to the test. Check out these facts about the fuel:
- Diesel engines are efficiency kings. In an average diesel engine, about 40 percent of the fuel burned actually moves the vehicle – the rest of the energy is lost or channeled elsewhere along the way. Forty percent may seem like a low number, but consider that gasoline engines can only achieve efficiencies ranging from 12 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Diesel burns cleaner than ever. Rising standards – including mandates for the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in both on-road diesel and off-road diesel – have made today’s fuels cleaner than ever. Modern diesel engines manufactured today are also cleaner-burning than at any point in history. The EPA is constantly working to reduce exposure to the hazards of diesel exhaust from older engines, too, funding projects that reduce diesel emissions from existing vehicles.
- Diesel works best at moderate speeds. A diesel engine reaches peak power at speeds up to 65 miles per hour. It’s usually best to keep a diesel engine running below 2,000 RPM to maintain peak power (gasoline engines, by contrast, require much higher RPM – some as high as 6,700 – to achieve maximum horsepower and acceleration).
- Diesel engines don’t use spark plugs. A diesel engine injects fuel into a highly compressed air; heat already present within the internal combustion chamber ignites the fuel. In a gasoline engine, by contrast, gas is mixed with air to make vapor, which is then compressed by a piston and ignited by a spark plug). In cold weather, however, diesel engines may need to use a heating device called a glow plug to keep compressed air temperatures high enough to ignite the fuel.
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