Europe has widely used diesel for decades, but in the U.S. the fuel has had a cloud hanging over it, with many drivers associating the fuel with smoke-belching trucks and the “putt-putt” of diesel cars. There’s even a term used by auto mechanics called “dieseling” to describe what happens when a car keeps sputtering after you turn the ignition off.
But the fuel has actually cleaned up its act, with engines running more than 90 percent cleaner than a few years ago, according to a recent study.
Ultra-fine particulates — the tiny pieces of soot that can lodge in lungs and cause respiratory and heart problems — were 99 percent lower in 2007-model trucks and buses than in 2004 models, and 89 percent lower than the amounts allowable under the EPA’s 2007 standards, according to the study.
BMW is making a big push for diesel, but it’s Audi that has really gone to town, trying to promote its new TDI engine. It’s pulling out all the stops to push the “Diesel: It’s no longer a dirty word” campaign. <a href="“>.
There’s plenty of other diesel-related efforts afoot, including making the fuel from chicken feather meal, but as of late biodiesel continues to show signs it’s just not ready for prime time.
The question remains if Americans are willing to give diesel another shot. I still remember my family’s mid-70’s Mercedes fondly but in high school the kids with diesel Volkswagons also seemed to have more breakdowns than I did with my gasoline-powered clunkers.
Are you ready to give diesel a try?