Diesel Fuel Quality

The designs of diesel engines striving to increase
performance have made a lot of advancements in engine
fuel delivery to the combustion chamber. The diesel
engines of today are much quieter, smoother, and
also more powerful. The quality of diesel fuel on
the other hand has not advanced at the same rate as
the improvements of engines.

As soon as it is produced, diesel fuel begins to
deteriorate. Less than 30 days of refining, all
diesel fuel, regardless of the brand, goes through a
natural process called oxidation. This process forms
varnishes and gums in the fuel by causing the
molecules of the fuel to lengthen and start bonding

Now, these components will drop to the bottom of the
fuel tank and form diesel sludge. The fuel will
begin to turn very dark in color, smell bad, and
cause the engine to smoke. The engine starts to
smoke as some of these clusters are small enough to
pass through the engine filtration and on to the
combustion chamber.

As the clusters begin to increase in size, only a
small amount of the molecules will get burned, as
the rest will go out the exhaust as unburned fuel
and smoke.

Its estimated that eight out of every ten diesel
engine failures are directly related to poor quality
and contaminated fuel. The build up of contamination
in the fuel systems and storage tanks can clog
filters, thereby causing the engine to shut down,
and damage to the engine to occur.

The number one reason for bad fuel is due to the
increasing popularity of diesel power and the
accompanying increased demand for more diesel fuel.
Long ago, diesel fuel remained in the refinery
storage tanks long enough to naturally seperate and
begin to settle, allowing the clean fuel to be
drawn apart. Now, with the demand getting higher
than ever, the fuel is never stationary long enough
to settle, and the suspended water and solids are
passed on to the person buying the fuel - you.

The changes in refinery techniques is also a
problem. In order to get more products, diesel
fuel is being refined for more marginal portions of
the crude barrel. This results in a lower grade
product that is thicker and also contains a lot
more contamination.

As time continues to pass and technology gets better
and better, one can only hope that the quality of
diesel fuel improves. As it stands now, the quality
isn't good at all. If you run diesel fuel, all
you can basically hope for is that the fuel you
are getting isn't contaminated.

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

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.

Diesel Engines And Well Known Gas

In passenger cars, the diesel engine has never really
caught on. During the middle to late 70s, diesel
engines in passenger cars did notice a surge in
sales due to the OPEC oil embargo, although that is
the only real significant penetration that diesel
engines have made in the market.

Although diesel engines are more efficient, there
are eight historical problems that may have held
them back.
1. Due to the higher compression ratios,
diesel engines tend be heavier than the equivalent
gasoline engine.
2. Diesel vehicles and diesel engines tend to
be more expensive than gas.
3. Because of their weight and compression
ratio, diesel engines tend to have lower RPM ranges
than gas engines. This gives diesel engines more
torque rather than higher horsepower, and this tends
to make diesel vehicles slower in terms of acceleration.
4. Diesel engines have to be fuel injected,
and in the past fuel injection was very expensive
and less reliable.
5. Diesel engines tend to produce more
smoke and smell very funny when compared to gasoline
6. They are harder to start in cold weather
and if they contain glow plugs, the diesel engines
may require you to wait before you start the
engine so that the glow plugs can heat up.
7. Diesel engines are much noisier than
gas engines and tend to vibrate quite a bit.
8. Diesel fuel is less available than gas.

Although one or two of these disadvantages would be
acceptable, a group of them is a big turn away for
many people.

Even though the list above are reasons in the past
as to why diesel never really took off, you can
expect these reasons to get corrected and improved
in the future, meaning that you will see more and
more diesel vehicles on the road.

Diesel And Gas Prices

Over the years, the prices of both gas and diesel
have experienced some drastic changes. Many years
ago, the price of gas was around a dollar or a
little more, nothing like it is today. Back then,
gas wasn't high in price although the demand for
vehicles wasn't what it is today either.

As the demand for vehicles grew, the demand for
fuel grew as well. Other actions and events have
played into the equation as well, resulting in
the rising costs of fuel. Fuel is something we
all need to run our vehicles, as we wouldn't be
able to go anywhere without it.

As you may know, a majority of the gas we get at
local gas stations comes from overseas, primarily
the Middle East. Therefore, we have to pay taxes
and such on the gas we use, which pays for the
gas as well as the shipping. If we got our gas
from within the United States, one can't help
but wonder whether or not the prices would indeed
be lower.

Diesel on the other hand, has always managed
to keep a price lower than gas. Diesel comes
from within the United States, so the prices are
of course going to be lower. The only problem
associated with diesel fuel is locating it, as
many gas stations don't sell it.

When it comes to the choice between the two,
diesel fuel is obviously cheaper to buy. Gas is
in supply more, which means that you can find
it almost anywhere. If you own a gasoline
vehicle, you obviously don't want to put diesel
in it. If you own a diesel vehicle, then you
of course wouldn't want to put gas in it either.

Advantages Of Diesel Engines

If you've owned a diesel powered vehicle in the
past or if you own one now, you no doubt appreciate
the qualities this engine provides you with. More
torque, better fuel economy, and easier maintenance
are but a few of the attributes of owning diesel
powered vehicles.

However, there are some motorists that still
complain about the engine's weak power, especially
when accelerating from a full stop. What you
may not be aware of is the fact that a diesel
engine can be tweaked to give more power without
harming the fuel economy.

Diesel engines use air compression to create
combustion versus the fuel/air mixture that is
required by gas engines. This attribute means
that diesel engines don't require spark plugs
and therefore don't need to be tuned up.

Diesel fuel has a much high fuel density than
gas, which results in fuel economy increases
of 20 - 30% over gasoline powered vehicles.

Diesel engines are also cheaper to maintain as
they have less parts than that of a gasoline
powered engine. The life span of a diesel
engine is also much longer.

If you're looking for torque, for pulling a
boat or other equipment, then the diesel
engine has the supreme advantage. Diesel
engines are surely slower, especially when
starting from a dead stop, although when you
climb hills or go over bridges, the diesel
engine is surely up to the task.

With trucks, diesel is normally the leader
over gas engines in terms of performance and
miles per gallon. Diesel trucks will get
more miles than gas trucks, and the price for
diesel is a bit cheaper than gas these days.
And with gas prices on the rise, diesel will
continue to dominate for a long time to come.