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US market: Future of light diesel?....  RSS feed

 
John Weiland
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This may lean towards Cider Press material, but will start it off in this forum and see if it needs to be moved.  The following is primarily directed to the US market.

Over the past few years, up into about 2014, there have been some nifty conversions of gasoline to diesel vehicles exhibited on the internet with greater mileage in mind.  Some third party manufacturers have come up with adapter kits to mate diesel engines like the Volkswagen TDI and Kubotas, as well as Cummins engines, to truck and SUV transmissions.  With the recent snafu involving Volkswagen regarding the skirting of US emissions standards, it appears that VW is significantly scaling back diesel availability on their US models, and we've already seen and heard many failed starts from Japan about ever offering small, efficient diesels for the US.  I'm not even sure at this point to what extent Audi, Mercedes, and others will be following VW's lead on this.

In light of this trend, and noting the abundance of large diesel pickups and construction and ag equipment in the US, I'm just wondering what others think regarding emissions tolerances in other countries that allow for Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, and other small SUV/pickups and sedans for which diesel options are common.  Is the air quality in the US really that much cleaner on account of these policies?....That seems to be the reasoning out of the regulatory agencies.  Something else I'm missing here?...Thoughts?
 
Ron Helwig
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I can't speak to the emissions policies, except to express my opinion on poly-tics.

IMHO the biggest advantage of diesel is the ability to use other fuels, like alcohol. Fuel economy itself isn't going to be that much different than gas, in the grand scheme of things. So as a permie, I do like the potential ability to generate my own fuel.

But with the advent of fully electric cars, both gas and diesel vehicles are inevitably going to go away. It isn't going to happen overnight, but I'd bet that in the next 20 years it will become illegal to run gas and diesel owner driven vehicles in many locations. (Self-driving cars are just about here, and they will be so much safer that politicians will mandate their use.) I predict that there will be another Cash For Clunkers program intended to ensure profits for carmakers, with the secondary benefit of getting older, polluting, less-safe cars off the road.

And continuing the idea of generating my own fuel, electric generation to "fuel" a vehicle is obvious. I would love to have a homestead where we have solar [check!], diesel generator [check!], maybe wind [not effective here], and maybe other electricity producing inputs that load up batteries which in turn power everything. Redundant sources of power is a good thing.
 
John Polk
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IMHO the biggest advantage of diesel is the ability to use other fuels...

From my readings, I was surprised to learn that Rudolf Diesel originally designed his engine to run on hemp oil.

Diesel fuel is more/or/less just kerosene with a little lube oil added.
Stinky, noisy (and extremely heavy per h.p.).  They are fine for stationary engines, but I seriously have reservations for them as a mobile platform.
 
David Livingston
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Here in Europe I know folks who run there desils on osr oil seed rape at least some of the time ( it's a bit illegal due to tax issues )
 
Rus Williams
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Ron Helwig wrote:Fuel economy [of diesel] isn't going to be that much different than gas, in the grand scheme of things.


Actually it's 25-30% better for diesel for a similar motor.

Ron Helwig wrote:
But with the advent of fully electric cars, both gas and diesel vehicles are inevitably going to go away.


This will be great. I want to see it happening with tractors.
 
John Weiland
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When I see an article like this one in the UK's Guardian, I'm reminded that it's not such a clear issue:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/08/pollutionwatch-europes-problem-diesel-cars

As someone living in a northern climate that gets quite cold in winter, I'm unsure about the reliability, range, and heating capability of electric cars in winter.  And it's not just getting from point A to point B in a rural setting with many miles to drive, it's always the potential for getting stranded in a snow storm and having the reserves to stay warm in that situation.  It sounds like there are solutions coming down the road, but that EVs and other alternatives are best suited for urban situations first....which makes sense as it serves the greatest number of people first and foremost.

For that reason, at our rural location in the northern US, the numbers suggest that diesel/biodiesel using an efficient engine would get better mpg than the equivalent-size gasoline model and the engines often end up lasting longer as well.  But as the article indicates, in some respects "clean diesel" was oversold(?) in Europe and plenty of people seem upset with emissions even as they were pretty happy with the mpg.  My question with this thread was to get more information on where the truth lies in this issue, as it certainly seems diesel's days would be numbered if it truly is dirtier and not really any more power-packing than gasoline.  Yet the acceptance of diesel locally as the fuel of choice for agriculture, construction, and large 4X4 pick-up trucks is clear, and it remains a common fuel oil for home heating as well.
 
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