Friday, June 13, 2008

Diesel for professionals, diesel for racecars, diesel for everyone

Without even looking I can tell if a taxi has pulled up. It's that rumbling diesel engine pulling up to he curb but never switching off. Most people, including myself until recently, thought that diesel meant smelly, noisy and (worst of all) slow. But the popularity of the diesel engine in two very important sectors of driving raises the question of whether or not it is in fact inferior to other engines.

Car racing and professional car fleets are two areas that use diesel engines. At the upcoming Le Mans 24 Hour endurance motor race Peugeot and Audi will be entering cars with diesel engines, reports the BBC. At the same time, diesel remains the most cost effective fuel for company cars, according to a press release from All In One Leasing Limited, one of the UK's largest and longest established automotive companies. So diesel engines are used in everything from high speed racing to rented executive cars and one can even find diesel supercars

The reasons for diesel's popularity is its low cost, in the face of increasing oil prices, and its high mile per gallon average. Now in order to keep with the eco-friendly trend in cars, there are plans for a diesel-electric hybrid. Peugeot and Volkswagen both have diesel hybrids, in the case of the VW Golf it has the added bonus of cutting your road tax to zero.

Furthermore, there is a chance that in next year's Le Mans there will be diesel-electric hybrid's racing. For the moment the combination of the two technologies would make cars too heavy (seems to be everyone's concern these days) albeit more fuel efficient, but as technology progresses, the diesel-electric model should become all the more popular and easy to achieve. And when that happens I won't be able to tell when a taxi has pulled up. Because the hybrids are quiet.


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