Skyrocketing diesel prices may slow U.S. enthusiasm for German oil-burners

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by xcel, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    "Skyrocketing U.S. diesel prices may cause U.S. destined oil-burners to crash even before take off."

    [xfloat=left][/xfloat]Neil Winton - Detroit News - June 12, 2008

    2008 European Ford Focus w/ the 1.6L Diesel (platform and engine not available here of course :() -- 61.9 mpgUS highway.

    One only needs to consider that Ford alone offers 5 diesels in Europe that receive better than a 50 mpgUS on European centric based FE test cycles. -- Ed.

    The rising price of diesel in the U.S. looks set to derail the long-awaited onslaught by German manufacturers, hoping to sell fuel-efficient fuel-sippers to Americans desperate for economic vehicles, as long as they're not gutless, dangerous minicars.

    Diesels in Europe have been spectacularly successful in recent years, to the point when about every other new car sold here is an oil-burner. Americans still probably associate diesels with the hopeless turkeys on sale during the 1970s oil crisis, which were unreliable, always bag-a-nails noisy, smelly, dirty, smoke emitting, and gutless.

    Modern diesels couldn't be more different. They are so quiet, effortlessly smooth, and with torquey engines offering instant acceleration from low engine speeds, that they are the version of choice by German buyers of top-of-the-range S class Mercedes and BMW 7 Series. They are amazingly fuel-efficient, too. As Congress ratchets down rules insisting that vehicle fuel economy must improve 40 percent by 2020, diesel power offers this without forcing people to scale down to tiny cars which offer scant accident protection and snail-like performance… [rm][/rm]
  2. Yarisman

    Yarisman Well-Known Member

    It kills me that the EU standards for emission controls have been more strict in recent years than in the US. Their Diesel technology is far superior to ours, but the government has been trying to protect the domestic manufacturers. If we produced enough diesel fueled vehicles, producing a higher demand for clean diesel, the government would acquiese and the refiners would see a boom in sales.
  3. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Still say Diesel Hybrids are the way to go for maximum mileage.
    Even if Diesel fuel prices go 30% over gasoline they are a better
    deal to drive over distance.
    I was playing with my Delorme mapping software last night. It was interesting to see that you could drive from Chicago to Disney World on one tank of gas in a Diesel Jetta Hypermiling. They supposedly get 60 mpg at 60 mph it wouldn't be too hard to up that to 69 mpg.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Yarisman

    ___Actually, the US’ emissions specs have been far more strict wrt NOx and PM than the Europeans and it has been this way for many many years.

    ___Good Luck

  5. sailordave

    sailordave Well-Known Member

    xcel, you beat me to it. The problem is American emission standards are so strict that before the European diesels can be brought here they must first be able to run on our cleaner diesel fuel formula and them must be modified with a urea treatment system to reduce the emissions to meat US emission standards. The diesel fuel formula in Europe has a higher sulfer content and even though moder diesel engines in Europe burn cleaner than the ones in the 1970s, they still polute too much to be brought here as is and meet our standards. Some of the new diesels being brought here will also require a replacement or refilling of the urea tank to continue to meet emission standards. Some companies are working on another way to clean up the emissions without requiring refilling of urea.
  6. arrow15

    arrow15 Active Member

    Yeah, that's why non-commercial diesels weren't sold in CA and other CARB markets for so many years, and then disappeared completely for a while. The US had a ridiculous system in place where the emissions requirements were so strict that diesels couldn't pass without new emissions systems, but the new systems required ultra low sulfur diesel, which finally went into effect a few years ago. Basically it kicked diesels out of the US market entirely.

    Now that ULSD is in place, automakers have begun phasing in diesels again with advanced emissions systems. Some require an on-board tank of urea, which will require refills. Others do not. Honda's US 2.2L diesel has a self-contained emissions scrubbing process which will need no additives and will meet tier 2 bin 5 emissions. That engine will debut in the Acura TSX next year.

    It would be illogical for someone to rule out diesel just because it's currently more expensive than gas. For one I don't think it's price margin over gas will grow or remain that way forever. Second, diesels offer an enormous fuel economy advantage over gas... plus they are easily drivable with their lower RPM torque.
  7. paulgraz

    paulgraz Member

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong - but I recall reading that producing a gallon of diesel requires more crude oil than making a gallon of gasoline.

    BUT - diesel fuel doesn't have to be made from petroleum. Rudolph Diesel originally invented his engine to run on peanut oil...
  8. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    Making a gallon of diesel uses more crude oil than a gallon of gasoline, but I'm not sure if making a gallon of diesel actually requires more oil than a gallon of gasoline. I think it is just the way our refineries are set up, to yield more gasoline than diesel.

    sailordave, our diesel has similar sulfur levels to European diesel. Our ULSD allows 15ppm sulfur, while European ULSD has a maximum of 10ppm and is widely available.

    The high diesel prices are an annoyance for me in that they are likely turning buyers away from the diesel option to the regular gasoline engines. News articles cite increased demand and the expense of making ULSD. Increased demand is plausible, I haven't read much into it to see if it's actually true or not. I don't buy the ULSD argument, refineries had to be making the stuff by June 2006 and diesel prices have spiked much more recently than that. I almost want to blame oil companies for trying to turn buyers away from diesel with high prices.

    Even here in Winnnipeg, diesel is much higher than usual. During previous summer months, diesel has been 20-30 cents cheaper per gallon than regular unleaded. This summer, it has been keeping pace with regular unleaded so that they're both around the same price. Apparently at some other places in Canada, diesel is 30-40 cents higher than regular, which was previously unheard of to me.
  9. donee

    donee Well-Known Member

    Hi Seftonm,

    Diesel is something like 50 to 75 cents more per gallon of regular unleaded here now. Something like $4.75 / gallon.

    I do not buy the ULSD arguement either. Its plain and simple the amount of crude that goes into a gallon of diesel. They need to get biodiesel into the mix faster for sumer diesel to stay competitive. Which might also be why. Possibly they ran out of last years crop of biodiesel, and now are shipping straight dino juice.

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