Anyone who has spent any time in Europe knows that our cousins across the Atlantic like their diesels. Here in North America, however, diesel engines are primarily used for commercial work and transport vehicles. The disparity between our continents regarding the popularity of diesel is basically a function of economics and ecological concerns.

In fact, the cost of diesel in Europe is actually lower than gas, quite the opposite of what we experience at the pumps on this side of the pond. Also, the aforementioned ecological concerns are shared on both shores, just based on different measures. In other words, diesel is popular over there because it is actually cleaner in some respects than gasoline. Urea-based additives have reduced the toxicity of diesel emissions. Plus, diesel engines typically have a 40% better fuel economy than their gas-powered counterparts which, conversely, results in fewer greenhouse gases.

Additionally, diesel engines are more efficient fuel burning engines, so that more of the fuel goes to propelling the vehicle, and less of it is wasted. So, although diesel is still not quite a completely clean alternative to gas, it contributes less pollution into the environment per gallon than gas. Coupled with the advancements in bio-diesel, the case for diesel becomes even stronger.

Another seldom considered side benefit of diesel powered engines lies in their durability versus gas equivalents. Diesel engines last longer, stay on the road longer, and can accumulate more mileage before needing to be repaired, rebuilt or replaced, all of which themselves require energy consumption.

Now about those prices at the pumps. Did you know that diesel fuel is actually less expensive to manufacture than gas? That’s right. The higher price for diesel in North America is all about demand, not cost of refinement.

So let’s recap what we’ve learned thus far. Diesel fuel:
– is cheaper to make;
– provides 40% better fuel economy than gas on average;
– is cleaner than ever and getting cleaner as we speak thanks to bio-diesel;

Sounds like a winner to us.