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Why diesel scores over other fuels

It has been more than 30 years since I began working in the automotive sector, whether as a newspaper writer (Thai and English newspapers) or radio (four programmes a day, five days a week) and television (three programmes a week) host.

Why diesel scores over other fuels

The most common questions I get are "What car should I buy?" followed by "Please compare this model to that model" and "Does this symptom mean that the car has a problem and how do I fix it?"

Although fuel has become much more expensive these days, the questions I get are still largely the same.

There are also a few new ones that I get these days, though these too are not as frequently asked as the questions I mentioned above.

The first question, "What car should I buy?" has been the most popular question during the last ten years. I have always given importance to diesel models. And today, even though diesel prices have gone up, I maintain that diesel engines are still the most interesting.

I do not answer just like that. Instead, I base my judgment on the news and developments in the local and international automobile scene.

The first reason is that diesel engines are longer lasting than other types of engines, including petrol engines and natural gas (liquefied-petroleum gas and compressed-natural gas) engines. Diesel engines have the lowest maintenance cost and the more you use them, the better value you will get from them compared with engines that run on other types of fuel.

If we compare the maintenance and repair cost of engines according to the fuel type, from lowest to highest, the first will be diesel, followed by petrol and natural gas.

Diesel technology has progressed a lot when compared with petrol or natural gas technology. In Europe, many manufacturers are aiming for the 3/100 target, which is producing vehicles that can run 100 kilometres on just three litres of diesel. And this is for mass use, not for fuel-economy competitions.

All European brands in the European market have diesel engines to offer. Even BMW, with its sporty image, has developed diesel engines with better performance and much lower fuel consumption than petrol engines. In effect, sales of BMW diesel models are quickly catching up with their petrol counterparts.

Even in the Le Mans 24-hour race, the winning car was an Audi, powered by a diesel engine. And, in the other events, diesel-powered race cars are clinching more and more victories.

Europe, being the origin of many exquisite automobiles, is where diesel technology is being developed at a frantic pace. Even Japanese manufacturers such as Isuzu, have set up a diesel-engine plant in Europe and it sells those engines to various brands.

The United States, which has never paid attention to diesels before, is selling more diesel-powered passenger cars and sport-utility vehicles. American manufacturers and consumers are now aware of the diesel engine's low maintenance cost and currently, the emission levels from diesel engines can easily pass the stringent US standards.

Keeping all these reasons in mind, I will always suggest diesel models. If you want to use the vehicle for a long time, enjoy increased pulling power and good acceleration, low-fuel consumption, low maintenance cost per kilometre or low emission levels, diesel is still the best answer.

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