Which is better, gasoline or diesel?
For many decades there has been a “war” between gasoline and diesel engines, it makes no sense to dispute its existence. Today many automakers equip the same models with both gasoline and diesel powertrains, therefore it is impossible to assert that one or another type of engine is preferable. But we still will try to find out all about advantages and disadvantages of gasoline and diesel, so you can make the right choice in the future. Often there are topics on auto forums, where motorists write about using gasoline for diesel engines and vice versa. We hasten to warn you right away, that using the fuel, which type is not intended for the engine is a total nonsense and the first resolute step to your “steel horse” engine letting out a breath. It’s all about the fundamental difference between diesel and gasoline engines, which differ in the way the mixture is ignited in the cylinders. What are these principles?
How the gasoline engine “lives” The fuel-air mixture in such power plant is formed outside the cylinder, namely in the intake manifold (of course, if we do not take into account the possibility of direct injection). The final mixing of gasoline and air vapors takes place at the end of the compression stroke. Then a fuel mixture, called homogeneous and distributed evenly over the volume, is formed in the combustion chamber of the engine. Compression leads to an increase in the temperature of the mixture, which is heated to 500°C, well below the temperature needed to ignite gasoline. After that it’s the turn of the spark plugs, which give the spark and ignite the mixture.As you can see, everything is pretty simple if you get into it. For those who haven’t thought about it, the meaning of the definition “internal combustion engine” becomes immediately clear. Diesel units are also called internal combustion engines, but their principle of operation is fundamentally different from gasoline units. All disadvantages of gasoline engines are leveled by the working principle of diesel engines. Judge for yourself. In the cylinder of such engine only air is compressed, which is affected by a pressure of 30-50 bar. As a result of compression the air is heated to 900 ° C. At that time in the combustion chamber the diesel fuel is atomized before the upper dead point of the piston. The small drops of diesel fuel evaporate, and a fuel-air mixture is formed. By the way, the formation of the mixture in a diesel engine occurs an order of magnitude faster than in a gasoline engine. That’s why a heterogeneous or, as it is also called, heterogeneous mixture is obtained, which ignites itself and burns perfectly. So, we have understood with principles of work of engines of different types. Now it’s time to move directly to their disadvantages and advantages, which cannot be spoken about unequivocally, because in certain situations, any minus of the engine can turn into a plus, and vice versa. In Russia gasoline engines are more popular than diesel engines, and it can be explained quite simply. The reason lies in our consciousness and those stereotypes, which are settled in it, as if splinters. We are accustomed to the fact that in the Soviet era diesel power plants were installed on heavy agricultural machinery, such as KAMAZ and tractors “Belarus”. But few people know that diesel engines were also installed in passenger cars, which were mostly exported.
The popularity of diesel engines is confirmed by statistics. Thus, in France, every third car is “powered” by diesel fuel, and in Austria about 50% of cars are equipped with diesel engines. Probably Europeans know what they have forgotten to tell us? Let’s find out. Engine efficiency and its power It is generally believed that the diesel engine wins in terms of economy. In fact it used to be considered so, because the cost of diesel fuel was much cheaper, today the difference in price between gasoline and diesel has practically levelled out. However the diesel engines are still less voracious. It is achieved due to the high compression ratio (20 units in diesel, 10 units in gasoline), which allows to overcome the efficiency indicators of the gasoline unit by about 40%, which, naturally, is quite a serious claim to victory. In other words, the combustion of the working mixture in the diesel engine is more efficient. Owners of cars with diesel engines know that their fuel consumption will be 20% less than that of their counterparts who sacrifice to the gasoline god. However, this in no way detracts from the merits of “lighters”, which can also be quite economical. At the same time, gasoline engines have more power. For example, Mercedes-Benz E 200 D with W124 body has only 75 “horses” under the hood, while the petrol analog of Mercedes has 136 “horses”. However, even here there is a nuance: relatively small capacity of a diesel engine is more than compensated by smooth draught at absolutely any revolutions, that petrol power-units can only dream of.
Noise characteristics It is obvious that diesel engines create more noise and more vibrations. Here you have the advantage, which suddenly became a minus. All the matter is in the high pressure at fuel combustion. But there is no need to accuse the engine, but pay attention to the noise isolation: if it is good, you can hardly define by ear, sitting in the saloon of the car, what engine is installed. Also, much depends on how you feel about this or that flaw in the car. Some scientists assert that diesel engine rumble at idling by frequency very much reminds a cat purr. It is known that this sound calms people and even has healing properties.
Exhaust The popularity of diesel engines in Europe is primarily due to the fact that they are more environmentally friendly. In the past, a ride at the tail end of a diesel car promised unpleasant smells and puffs of acrid black smoke. Modern diesel units comply with “Euro-4” standards, and the unpleasant smell is all a matter of taste. Many people don’t like the smell of gasoline, and many have nothing against the sweet aroma of diesel. Operating issues Gasoline engines are less durable than diesel engines. This is due to the tougher and more durable construction of the cylinder block, cylinder-piston group parts, crankshaft and cylinder head. In addition, diesel also contributes to a longer engine life, because this type of fuel also to a certain extent plays the role of a lubricant. But all the aforementioned is just a theory, because the quality of diesel at Russian gas stations leaves much to be desired. Here it is necessary to give credit to gasoline engines, which are more resistant to low-quality fuel. In addition, diesel engines are very afraid of low temperatures. To be more exact, diesel does not like when thermometers columns fall below the plinth. But it is solved with the help of special grades of fuel, as well as with the help of modern heating systems.
Low frost resistance of diesel is compensated by the fact, that such engines are not afraid of water at all. After all, electricity is needed only to start the diesel engine, then it works without the use of electric circuits. That is why diesels are often installed on off-road vehicles and tanks, which, as we know, are not afraid of dirt. Maintenance issues Probably the issue of engine maintenance is the most important in this whole internal combustion story. The low quality of Russian diesel fuel, which we mentioned above, leads to the fact that owners of diesel cars have to change oil and filters relatively often, as well as regularly check the compression in the cylinders.
If we talk about repairs, the service stations less often undertake to restore the diesel engines due to their complex design. Besides, repair of a diesel engine is more expensive, as a rule, especially if the question is about a high-pressure fuel pump (a new pump costs as much as a used foreign car).
But the service life of diesel power plant does not leave the slightest chance for its petrol competitor. That is why MAZ and KAMAZ trucks from the past still drive on Russian roads, sometimes covering up to 3 million kilometers.
Now let us look at the advantages of each of our contenders.
Advantages of gasoline engines
Advantages of diesel engines
low vibration and noise level
comparatively high capacity
relatively low cost of diesel fuel
can run at high rpm without negative consequences for the engine
Gasoline or Diesel
Before buying a car it is important to decide which engine is preferable for you – gasoline or diesel? Each has its own advantages. If you are planning to buy a new car and have not yet decided on the type of power unit, it will be useful for you to know a few facts.
Older car enthusiasts remember well how the number of diesel vehicles increased dramatically in the mid- and late 90’s. The stereotype that diesel engines were installed only on the “industrial” equipment was broken.
Today car manufacturers offer us a wide variety of diesel engines. FAVORIT MOTORS, one of the largest dealers in Moscow, sells and services both gasoline and diesel cars. It gives opportunity to everyone to choose an option to his/her taste.
If we analyze and compare the characteristics declared by the manufacturer for gasoline and diesel cars, we can notice a tendency: the diesel provides more torque, but usually inferior in maximum power. This is true: due to the peculiarities of its operation, the diesel engine can not develop the same power as the gasoline engine, but it provides maximum torque from the first seconds of operation. For the same volume, the diesel engine’s fuel consumption is about 20% lower than that of its gasoline counterpart. This saves a lot on refuelling.
Maintainability and requirements to fuel
Practice shows that the diesel vehicles have a longer service life. They are more demanding to fuel quality, but it positively affects the service life of many nodes and mechanisms of the chassis.
It is worth noting the disadvantage: the diesel engine has a more complex structure, so its repair is possible only in the conditions of a specialized service center. And the cost of components is significantly higher.
Experienced “diesel drivers” know one more important nuance of exploitation – it is driving in cold season. If the temperature in the street falls below -15°C, it is necessary to use winter type of diesel fuel (“summer” types get thick and turn into a jelly-like mass in frosty weather). In some cases it may be difficult to start the engine in extreme cold.
Can the type of engine affect the level of comfort?
Diesel cars are slightly heavier than their gasoline counterparts, and this affects the indicators of weight distribution. For this reason, the diesel is less maneuverable, which can complicate the process of driving for the beginner.
There is also another nuance to pay attention to, which is the noise level. Diesel engines tend to be noisier than gasoline engines. If you have an expensive executive class car, the sound insulation provided by the manufacturer will smooth out this disadvantage. But if you bought an inexpensive diesel car from hand, and moreover with untested technical condition, extra noise will surely accompany you every trip.
As for the price, a car with a gasoline engine will cost you a little bit cheaper. Much more profitable and its maintenance due to the reduced price of components and repairs.
If only ten years ago a diesel car could be recognized by the black acrid smoke from the exhaust pipe, today it is already quite a rare phenomenon. The world’s leading car manufacturers have significantly reduced the index of harmful substances for the atmosphere in the exhaust gases, which has made the diesel much more environmentally friendly.
Diesel or gasoline: pros and cons
If you summarize all the listed features, the advantages of diesel cars include:
- reduced fuel consumption;
- higher torque;
- better engine efficiency due to greater fuel compression;
- longer engine and chassis mechanisms life due to the special chemical composition and lubricating properties of diesel fuel
- longer cruising range.
Advantages of petrol cars:
- less demanding to the quality of gasoline;
- High indicators of maximum power and speed;
- no problems with starting the engine in cold weather;
- more affordable maintenance.
As you can see, the advantages of one type of engine are the disadvantages of another. Carefully analyze everything, consider your capabilities, experience, features, pros and cons and operating conditions. Each manufacturer strives to minimize the disadvantages of the car, so you can not say that any of the types of cars looks more advantageous. Differences affect some technical characteristics, so you can always choose the option that best suits your capabilities, skills and expectations.