The Dirty ‘D’ Word… Diesel?
For anyone living in an urban or snowy environment, it comes as no surprise that diesel vehicles emit large amounts of harmful substances. You feel it in your lungs, and in snow the sooty evidence is plain as day. However, in a world increasingly concerned with CO2 emissions, diesel had briefly become a sort of golden child for many consumers. Seen as a way to curb greenhouse gases and save a bit at the pump with their substantially better fuel economy, it was almost forgotten why diesel had formerly fallen into such disrepute.
Let us consider some facts:
1. Diesel isn’t what it used to be.
It’s true, diesel engines are far more efficient, cleaner, and quieter than they have ever been.
2. It still isn’t enough.
CO2 emissions may be the #1 global pollution concern for most people, but the air still has to be breathable. Diesel NOx emissions are unacceptably high (about 50% higher than gasoline even at their best). It’s the nature of the engines, unfortunately.
3. Gasoline is actually getting worse.
While gasoline has traditionally been listed as zero PM, that is increasingly not the case, with increasing prevalence of direct injection. Direct injection produces on-average 10-times the PMs when compared to the model diesels. This can be improved with particulate filters, but it will never be zero.
Conclusion: Neither is perfect, but perhaps a third option?
Take the Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the more popular models on the road today. Comparable 2017 models between diesel and gasoline line up as follows:
Gas: 17mpg city & 25 highway, 295 hp, MSRP $32,695
Diesel: 22mpg city & 30 highway, 240 hp, MSRP $41,505
Just for fun, let’s just look at the Tesla model 3: mpg – N/A (215-mile range), 258 hp, MSRP $35,000
Looks like a new challenger really is on the rise.