There is the latest debate in the USA whether modern petrol engines trump the advantages of diesel engines making the latter obsolete. Diesel engines are known for their higher low-end torque output, good fuel efficiency and even cleaner emissions. With the latest breed of petrol engines being tuned to produce higher torque at lower RPMs and be more fuel efficient, do buying diesel cars make sense? Even hybrid technology is becoming cheaper making them a very viable option.
The USA has seen a pretty strong diesel movement in the recent times with sale of diesel cars rising by 25 percent in 2012. All major American car manufacturers like General Motors and Chrysler are introducing diesel engines for their advantage. The latest car from Chevrolet is the Chevrolet Cruze, using a 2.0-litre 148 BHP diesel engine which is the first diesel car in their portfolio since 1986.
Still diesel cars comprise of just 2.7 percent of the American market and global car manufacturers like Toyota, Hyundai and Ford are refraining from launching diesel cars. Audi recently launched diesel engined models in the USA and plans to bring more diesel cars. BMW will soon launch the 328d while few of the car makers are also betting big on diesel technology. However petrol engines like Ford’s EcoBoost and Volkswagen’s TSI are making diesel engines look pointless.
On an average diesel cars cost $5000 (Rs. 2,70,000/-) more to buy than petrol cars. Diesel in USA is about 36 cents (Rs. 20/-) more expensive than petrol, unlike India, where is the exact opposite. So the advantages of fuel efficiency are marginal. On the other hand modern hybrid cars cost just $ 1500 (Rs. 80,000/-) more than petrol cars in the States. In Europe diesel cars comprise of almost 50 percent of sales. German car manufacturers like BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen started a “Clean Diesel, Clearly Better” campaign in USA, and it resulted in rise in sales of German diesel cars. But now with modern petrol engines becoming more fuel efficient as well as delivering a higher torque output, the advantages of the diesel engines are nullified.
Source – Detroit News