It seems like more and more commercial cars are running on diesel fuel instead of regular gas these days. It’s not just a commercial trucking commodity anymore. For consumers, though, it can be important to know the difference between these two fuels so you can choose what works best for you and your lifestyle. You don’t have to know a ton of technical terms and parts, such as what an intake air heater is to drive a diesel-powered car.
Diesel engines are sometimes seen as more energy efficient because of the way they process fuel. A diesel engine differs from a regular engine in the way it produces energy for your car. The four main functions of any engine are intake, compression, power, and exhaust. In a diesel engine, air is pulled into the combustion chamber and then compressed. When you start your car, a small amount of fuel is added to get the spark that starts and runs your car.
Regular gasoline engines use more fuel in their process than diesel engines. For example, a gas engine pulls both air and fuel into its combustion chamber at the beginning of its energy cycle. They also rely on spark plugs to start the ignition in your car, where a diesel engine simply uses the hot air it has compressed.
Diesel engines are great for fuel economy, but they do release more emissions than a regular gasoline car. Diesel fuel also often costs more than regular fuel, which is another consideration when choosing what car to buy next. If you frequently commute a long distance to work, then diesel might be the right choice for you. If you don’t drive long distances frequently, though, you might actually save money by buying your new car with a traditional engine.