- Modern Diesel engines are very complicated due to their turbos, hence are more brittle and expensive to repair.
- Price advantage of Diesel is practically not there anymore, but the Diesel model is still more expensive.
- Modern Gasoline engines have caught up with Diesels in terms of mpg.
No one bought a Diesel because it's a Diesel. People were buying it cause the price at the pump was way lower and you could offset your initial higher costs after 50-80k kms.
So, the US might just have skipped over Diesel. Happens in other tech as well, see 3g networks, etc.
This is nonsense. Especially the part about turbochargers. It's hard to find a diesel without one these days. The technology is mature, and so widely adopted that it is the default.
>- Price advantage of Diesel is practically not there anymore, but the Diesel model is still more expensive.
Yup, takes much longer to pay for itself, if ever.
>- Modern Gasoline engines have caught up with Diesels in terms of mpg.
No. With a gas engine you can have lots of power, or good economy, never both. If that were true, I'd expect to see at least some adoption in trucking.
>No one bought a Diesel because it's a Diesel.
Everyone who buys a diesel, buys it because it is a diesel. Nobody buys one on accident. I still maintain that diesels got their bad reputation in the US because of the awful Oldsmobile 350 diesel experiment. I expect the persistent lack of diesels in the US has more to do with shady trade shenanigans than anyone's fear of diesels, despite the price.
your counterpoints seem strange, of course all modern diesels have turbos. i am not talking about the TDIs of yore, my 2004 volvo D5 engine is awesome. it's the post 2008 generation that has started the issue trend. common rail engines, over-engineered to the brim.
Shows a serious lack of trust in their capabilities, and that of their team.
To meet the increasingly stringent emissions controls, and people's desire for a car that is reasonably cheap and accelerates at a decent rate, the cars seem to have become rather complicated, and reliability has been affected.
Common points of failure seem to be:
- dual mass flywheel (presumably the regular swift ramping-up of torque doesn't help)
- turbo charger (obviously spins very quickly and unlike a petrol engine it comes on from about 1500rpm so it's used a lot)
- diesel injectors (high precision components operating under pressure)
- diesel particulate filter (can clog and require expensive replacement if car is not regularly driven hard)
- random engine/ECU "thing" that nobody can figure out (who knows what the root cause of this might be)
You might have better luck with a pre-common rail diesel car, but the fuel economy is unlikely to be very good and the performance - at least by modern standards - looks to be terrible.
What's with the turbocharger FUD in here today? BTW 1500 RPM is 1/2 or 2/3 the way to the redline on many diesels, so it's not really used more than it would be on a gasoline engine.
>- diesel injectors (high precision components operating under pressure)
Really simple devices in principle, can get expensive for some vehicles when the engineers have gone around the bend with new features (Mercedes Sprinter, I'm looking at you).
>- diesel particulate filter (can clog and require expensive replacement if car is not regularly driven hard)
No experience with them.
>- random engine/ECU "thing" that nobody can figure out (who knows what the root cause of this might be)
Nonsense. This is a mechanic/technician training issue. Diesel ECU's are no more complicated than for a gasoline engine. I'm really surprised to see anyone on HN play the "Dang them fancy computers is too complicated fer me." card.
diesel injectors: direct gasoline injectors are very similar.
turbo: common in modern gasoline engines due to downsizing and direct injection.
particulate filter: while I respect the following statement: "The cheapest, fastest and most reliable components are those that aren’t there."
(Gordon Bell), thermal efficiency of a diesel cycle may make it worth.
ECU faults: those actually help with solving problems before they are serious. Please go to qualified workshops! Computers are no longer a dark magic.
As for the problems I describe, I am merely relaying issues I have heard people complain about! If people take their car to a non-franchised garage, or do things themselves, ECU errors tend to get them going to the official garage because only they have the appropriate equipment. But this always seems to be a bit hit or miss, requiring multiple visits.
People's suggestions that diesel engines are extra-reliable seem to be somewhat wide of the mark. Ye olde diesel engine of yore was simple, slow, noisy, dirty, and would run forever; thanks to modern technology, that all seems to have changed...
The reality is that cars have never been more reliable:
> “The long-term dependability of three-year-old models has improved year-over-year, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.
> “In 2013, overall vehicle dependability averages 126 PP100–a five percent improvement from the 2012 average of 132 PP100–and is the lowest problem count since the inception of the study in 1989.”
Simplicity makes engines easier to work on for the layman, but it doesn't necessarily make them more reliable.
I'm a total gear head. My love affair with cars started really early. At 3, I figured out how to use a screw driver by taking the tail lights off my dad's VW Beetle. At age 7, I helped my dad tear a VW Beetle's 4-cylinder boxer engine down to the case halves, then put it back together. I was infatuated with the process and the understanding that came with every part we removed and reassembled.
I often wonder whether my father and I could have accomplished the same with (just an example) the new Ford Ecoboost 1.0L 3-cylinder, but I recognize that giving up that simplicity has resulted in an overall improvement in reliability and quality for the vast majority of drivers.
What engines are you referring to in particular? Any brand in mind? Some manufacturers have been making diesels for a long time despite the emergence of common rail I'd suspect they would have most of this resolved now unless it's planned obsolescence
A bridge should last "forever", which is to say that it will be clear when it needs to be replaced before it actually fails. Car engines are routinely used until they break, then repaired and used until they break again, and this continues until it's no longer financially viable.
So even if you only break even over the life of the vehicle, you get the potential value of driving to the very end of the Oil Age.
We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part
of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It
is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to
help fund great new BBC programmes. You can find out more about BBC
Worldwide and its digital activities at www.bbcworldwide.com.
Separately, the BBC overseas service is required to solicit external funding for its content, and not to cross-subsidize it with the license fee. This was insisted on by the government, which did not want license-fee revenues subsidizing international content, but still did want international content to exist as part of the UK's global cultural export/image. But due to the previous agreement this content then can't be shown in the UK, because it's commercially-funded content.
Ridiculousness of the same sort is happening with the publicly financed broadcasts over here in Germany. Somehow, almost every EU country manages to completely mess up the transition of its publicly financed broadcasts into the internet age, always because of some nonsense regarding the private competition. I hope the EU gets going with the single market for audiovisual content, fixing this once and for all.
The main thing I want is the ability to store 500-1000 gallons of fuel and know it will be viable for a couple years. You can do that with diesel, you can't really do that with gasoline. Being able to share fuel between a generator and a car (and ideally eventually a motorcycle/gator and a plane) would be even better.
It's also one of the reasons American manufacturers like GM and Ford have lower perceptions of build quality even though these companies are now passing the Japanese manufacturers in quality surveys.
It's not a paywall, or an interstitial-ad-wall or a great firewall of China. It's just designed to save UK viewers from the horror of seeing an article with a BBC logo on the top and ads down the side. Stupidwall seems like a good term for it.
I'm not clear what's going on in this case, but it's more likely that this is out of its public remit - as a funded public service, they're not to compete with commercial companies in sensitive industries/they're not allowed to use public money on content irrelevant to their remit and so BBC Worldwide has to be somewhat carefully separated.
This may be down to Rupert Murdoch's lobbying pressure.
That said, based on the limited information we have, I'm totally with you that it's a ridiculous situation. Maybe they have a somewhat valid reason, such as the one I suggested above, but I do doubt it.
In most(?) European countries diesel fuel has a lower tax.
From what i've been told, it's partly because they're too efficient and might bring the cost of fuel down too much. No idea if that's accurate.
There are a few diesel car models available in US (e.g. the VW Passat TDI and Jetta TDI). But Americans don't buy enough of them to cause more manufacturers to sell diesel models.
You can read an interesting wiki article about ultra low sulfur diesel and the transition issues etc.
The short version is there is no "diesel atom or molecule" its a mixture of vaguely burnable substances. Some of which are compatible with some or another engines but not all. For example ULSD diesel is more or less incompatible with certain fuel pump seals sold up to less than 4 years ago.
Its hard to stomach buying something you may need to scrap or repair/replace in such a short term.
This is the era of indecisiveness for diesel. Gasoline had a similar one decades ago during the leaded to unleaded transition... that would have been the ideal time to roll diesel into the market.
Another problem is ignoring progress. "Those 1970's diesels really sucked compared to 1970s gas engines". "Oh thats OK 2010 diesels are better than 1970s diesels." "Sorry dude I'm comparing a 2010 diesel with a 2010 gas engine, not a 1970 gas engine." "Oh... in that case I guess a gas engine is better".
Yes, a disaster. I have 4 vehicles with diesel engines. I've replaced all of my seals and O-rings with Viton. Let those SOB's change the fuel again. I don't care. Nothing fucks with Viton.
>Its hard to stomach buying something you may need to scrap or repair/replace in such a short term.
They have rarely made changes to diesel fuel formulation, and only the ULSD change was catastrophic. Gasoline is reformulated seasonally, with varying amounts of alcohol. This has caused problems as well, but fewer people seem to notice or care.
>Another problem is ignoring progress. "Those 1970's diesels really sucked compared to 1970s gas engines". "Oh thats OK 2010 diesels are better than 1970s diesels." "Sorry dude I'm comparing a 2010 diesel with a 2010 gas engine, not a 1970 gas engine." "Oh... in that case I guess a gas engine is better".
Gasoline engines are far better than they used to be, no doubt about it, but so are diesels. I still prefer diesels, but for most people it's moot anyway. They either don't need a huge pickup truck, or there is no diesel available for purchase in their market segment.
 Still replacing and fixing leaks years later.
Diesel particulate matter from diesel vehicles is a significant source of harm from air pollution. DPM kills many people each year. Possibly 29,000 people each year in the UK die early because of air pollution.
this site is crappy, but I checked the numbers years ago and he didnt seem to be way off on anything. http://home.comcast.net/~russ676/biodiesel/index.html
Some will claim the conversion costs $12,000 and they are right, but only because in order for it to be "legal" it has to be done by someone who is "nationally certified". In other words, the oil industry has their paws wrapped around nearly every aspect.
Another advantage of CNG (compressed natural gas) is that it can be added in addition to gasoline. A diesel engine, however, does require a mixture of about 20% - 30% methane to run.
Here's a guy who did it himself:
- Making turbo charging more popular
- Direct injection
And I think one day we'll do away with spark plugs and have compression based ignition in gasoline engines. Combine that with hybrid technologies and we could have some pretty dang efficient vehicles.
less efficient than a bicycle though :P
The reason I don't actually own a diesel is the lack of options here in the US. Ive got to choose a truck, VW (depending on the year) and a MB. I haven't gone as far as looking into importing one purely for the repair aspect. If I actually ever move from my tiny city apartments I've considered the truck option and then converting it to run on SVO but it will probably never happen.
I have yet to figure out why we don't have diesel electric vehicles.
Used, it commands a significant premium over the used gasoline trucks. In the work truck market at least, it seems many buyers of new gas powered trucks come to regret that purchase and look for a diesel instead.
See http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/health/diesel-fumes-cause-... for example.