You may know that many commercial vehicles and some passenger vehicles use diesel instead of gasoline as fuel. However, most people don’t know much about how they differ. At first glance, they are very similar. Even though both ignite fuel/air mixtures to move pistons and create power, there are a few key differences that the experts at Coopers Auto Repair Specialists want you to know.
Both gasoline and diesel are petroleum products. They are made using oil extracted from underground deposits.
Diesel is more energy-dense than gasoline. The prices are usually about the same, but there are many places in the U.S. that charge more for diesel.
Diesel and gasoline engines are similar. They mostly use four-stroke cycles with intake, compression, power, and exhaust strokes.
However, diesel engines achieve significantly higher compression. They have no spark plugs. Instead, they ignite the fuel/air mixture purely through compression. As the mixture gets compressed, it generates head and self-ignites. Some diesel engines have “glow plugs.” These are similar to spark plugs but just produce heat rather than an electric spark.
Compression ratios for gasoline engines are usually between 8:1 and 12:1 (inside the cylinder to the outside air pressure). Diesel engine ratios are between (14:1 and 25:1).
Additionally, diesel cylinders have a wider bore but shorter length in most cases. This helps them achieve very high levels of torque.
Diesel engines typically produce less horsepower, but more torque compared to the same size engine using gasoline. This means that diesel is very good at towing heavy loads. Conversely, gasoline is much better for moving a vehicle quickly and accelerating.
As mentioned above, diesel is more energy-dense. This is very important for heavy vehicles such as semi-trucks and construction equipment. They need the high-density fuel to get around efficiently.
For highway driving, diesel engines are significantly more fuel-efficient. The difference is much lower for performance driving or when making lots of stops.
Now that you know a little more about the differences between diesel and gasoline engines, you can make an informed decision about which is right for you. When you need gasoline or diesel maintenance in the Tacoma area, come to Coopers Auto Repair Specialists. Visit our 103rd Street location or schedule an appointment online.