Where are the diesels?

Hi,
After much media coverage that diesels were coming real soon now, the
number of available diesels are not that many. My hunch on why this is
happening is the price of diesel fuel. Where I am in New York, diesel
fuel is priced above Regular Petrol grade by about 60 cents.
So all the cost savings in better MPG may well be offset by the cost
of fuel and the more expensive engine purchase price. Diesel for cars
no longer have compeling economics.
Best, Mike.
Reply to
hobbes
The latest Car and Driver (April) has an interesting column by CC. He runs through some of the advantages and disadvantages from an economic viewpoint, based on rising prices of Diesel fuel.
One thing he did not discuss is biodiesel. I seem to have a vague recollection that some people claim it is easier to make biodiesel than biogasoline. Is this correct? How much of a problem is making biodiesel?
Reply to
Don Stauffer in Minnesota
In article ,
Depends on how tolerant your vehicle is, but basically you run used cooking oil from the fryer through a filter to strain out the solids and you have bio-diesel. I suppose you could avoid the filter by using new clean veggie oils. (but at that point I think the cost savings and then some is lost)
Now how easy is it to make your veggie oil? I have no idea, but I believe it's fairly labor intensive without specialized machines.
homemade biodiesel is and will be great until it reaches a saturation point of people doing it. At that point, used fry oil is going to start costing money. The resturants which enjoyed someone just taking it away for no cost will have people offering them money to take it once the demand for the used cooking oil goes up.
Reply to
Brent P
Well, the Mythbusters TV show poured straight left over french fry cooking oil into a Benz and it ran perfect on a test track oval. I think it got something like 2 mpg less than pump diesel.
Mike 86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG Muds, 'glass nose to tail in '00 'New' frame in the works for '08. Some Canadian Bush Trip and Build Photos:
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Reply to
Mike Romain
A friend has a VW Jetta diesel. He says he gets 42 mpg city, 46 mpg highway. Unlike the old diesel cars: it doesn't smoke, it doesn't smell, and its not noisy. I was impressed.
I recall the 80s Mercedes with diesels. They smoked, they smelled bad, noisy, and the back of the car was black with diesel smoke residue. The diesel Jetta does none of that.
Finding a station that sells diesel can be a challenge.
Reply to
Beth W
Indeed, the newer (European) diesels work very well and dont have that "pine knot burner". Reputation. I hope they find their way here soon.
Diesel is easy to find here in Texas. Not cheap, but available.
The biodiesel situation is not clearly defined. You can burn waste vegetable oil in many diesels after it has been cleaned up a bit. I have some long term concerns about continued availability of food oil wastes, and about the use of them in auto systems.
You can also run into a nasty situation with the tax authorities if you dont pay tax on this "fuel".
You can make better fuels by converting the fattyacid triglycerides into methyl esters, ethyl esters, or other. That conversion is relatively easy, chemically, but you will lose 15-20% of the volume of oil when the glycerol precipitates out of solution. And then, what do you do with it?
Reply to
HLS
In the USA diesel automobiles have really never had a legal cost advantage over comparable gasoline powered models. Initial cost of a diesel is higher, maintenance costs are a bit higher, fuel is priced well above regular and usually above premium gasoline, etc.
Reply to
John S.
In the USA diesel automobiles have really never had a legal cost advantage over comparable gasoline powered models. Initial cost of a diesel is higher, maintenance costs are a bit higher, fuel is priced well above regular and usually above premium gasoline, etc.
The USA is a bit of a special situation..
Diesel is higher here than gasoline but it isnt that way all over the world...
I dont know that maintenance of a diesel is substantially higher than that of a gasoline engine. It is not in the European small diesels I have had experience with.
And the cost of building a diesel is not substantially more expensive either, I would guess, if diesel autos are built in quantity. Yes, there are differences, but I dont believe them to be substantial differences.
Reply to
HLS
"Biodiesel" is basically just vegetable oil. So yeah, its a heck of a lot more practical than brewing ethanol to blend with gasoline, whch is the only thing so far that approaches "biogasoline."
Its also much better on the energy balance, as ethanol takes as much (some say more, some say a little less) energy to make than you get back when you burn it. Methanol is working in Brazil where they're on the equator, have a tropical growth environment, year-round growing season, and can use sugar cane as the base stock for ethanol. Ethanol will never work at a positive energy balance in North America. Its just a load of subsidized feel-good BS. But biodiesel- THAT might work fairly well.
Reply to
Steve
Most of that difference is due to the new low-sulfur diesel that was phased in last year, not due to the engine. Jetta TDIs smelled and smoked just like any other diesel year-before-last when all the diesel was still high-sulfur. Of course the change is part of the reason that diesel is so much more expensive than gasoline right now, too.
Reply to
Steve
Well, the original poster was asking about diesels in New York... And in the U.S. diesel doesn't receive the relative subsidy that it does elsewhere.
If the taxation was the same then the prices would converge.
Actually I said a bit higher. Diesels typically take more oil on a change, require bigger filters, have a fancy fuel filter, require glow plug replacement, etc. Gasoline cars have other costs.
Some car manufacturers produce diesels in large quantity so I would think that the economies of scale would have been realized by now.
Reply to
John S.
The people you have been talking to are idiots. It does take about as much energy to produce a bushel of corn as the energy recovered by producing ethanol from that bushel. But what is being overlooked is that the by-product of producing the ethanol is a high protein feed. That by-product is still worth 80% of the original value of the bushel of corn. Your same logic could be applied to oil. A barrel of oil costs $100 but you only get $90 worth of gasoline from that barrel. Therefore it isn't worth pumping the oil out of the ground. Of course the fallacy is that you have completely overlooked the other $450 worth of products produced from each barrel of oil.
-jim
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Reply to
jim
New York and California have emissions standards in place that make just about every current diesel engine illegal to sell. Add in the extra taxes on diesel and the long standing perceptions (caused by big trucks, buses and just about every diesel vehicle) of being smelly, dirty and noisy, and it becomes real easy to see why they don't sell well in the U.S. Then you can add in that many cost more to service, and actually require service (how many people do you hear ask, GEE I have to check the oil?, or Do I have to change the oil in less than 10,000 miles?) to remain operational.
Oh and FYI the illustrious dimwitted Democrat in the governors mansion has decided that not only will he raise the thruway tolls, he also want to RAISE the gas taxes and add extra tax on diesel and alternative fuels. If he gets what he wants you can add another 5% in taxes.
Gee what a shock a tax&spend liberal who wants to tax&spend! Even when he said in his campaign that he was different and so many STUPID IDIOTS believed him.
Do you think gas prices are too high? I do.
The governor doesn't.
Just when you thought your budget couldn't take another hit, Governor Spitzer has proposed *_raising gasoline taxes in his budget_*.
He wants to _eliminate the cap on gasoline sales taxes_ we won in 2006 and put an adjustable tax on gasoline, tied to national gas prices, that will raise the tax by up to 5 percent per year. That's going to raise the price at the pump!
Maybe he's not worrying about gas prices in Manhattan or in his state-supplied car, but the people I represent are plenty concerned about rising gas prices. In our area, we depend on our cars and trucks to get to work, school, the store and church. Along with his proposed 300 percent hike in car insurance fees (from $5 to $20 per car) the governor is hurting upstate motorists.
Reply to
Steve W.
Wonder if the low sulfur rules are the same in Europe? Could be reason that nearly half their cars are diesel but ours are not.
Reply to
Frank
If this were true we would not have all the livestock people grousing about the cost of feed. Milk now probably costs more than gasoline. There is considerable disagreement in the technical community about the efficiency of making fuel from corn. When you bring the added cost of effect on prices for food and other derived items, it is probably negative.
Reply to
Frank
. Methanol is working in Brazil where they're on the
Note a type, Ethanol is working in Brasil, not methanol. And it really IS working. But they are not stupid enough to make it out of corn ;>)
Reply to
HLS
I own a 1960s Mercedes Benz four cylinder diesel engine I bought for $350.00 from J.C.Whitney back in the 1970s.I was kind of thinking I could mount that diesel engine on a 1928 Chevrotet frame (with the front and rear axels and wire wheels and steering column and steering wheel on the frame when I bought it locally for $30.00) I have and build an old fashioned looking 1900s pie wagon or depot hack body on he frame. cuhulin
Reply to
cuhulin
gasoline in Europe, and diesel is a little less. A lot of that is tax, to be sure. Right now, gasoline is priced on the markets (not at the stations) at about $2.60, last time I looked. There is no reason for diesel to cost substantially more than that, and taxation is probably part of the answer. Market targeting of critical industrial needs may be another.
think that the economies of scale would have been realized by now.
We have very little penetration into the auto diesel world. That might change if fuel prices increase substantially.
Reply to
HLS
Back in the 1950s when Mecedes Benz cars (gas and diesels) were first being imported into America, some people who bought the diesel engine versions got the idea of using some of their home heating fuel/oil in their cars, some farmers started using some of their tractor/farm machinery diesel fuel in their diesel engine cars.Then, fed (Crooked) govt mandated that those companies who made and sold all diesel fuel and home heating fuel oil in America have to add red dye to those fuels.
On the web, Diesel Fuel Trees in Brazil cuhulin
Reply to
cuhulin
And they have VERY few vehicles in Brazil as well. If you made the numbers of vehicles proportional to the US they would be using oil and not ethanol. They would have the same problem the US will have. Not enough land to produce the ethanol needed for all the vehicles.
Reply to
Steve W.

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