Starting in the early 20th century, engine technology changed the transportation industry forever. People were now able to travel faster with their cars, boats, trucks, and airplanes. For automobiles, the internal combustion engine design was really a revolutionary invention which people continue to take advantage of to this very day.
Any vehicle you see traveling on the roads or streets today either has a gasoline engine or diesel engine in it. Each of these engines is similar in some ways but different in other ways. Before you purchase any vehicle, you may want to consider whether you want it to have a gasoline engine or diesel engine. Once you learn about the differences between the two engines, you’ll be able to make an informed purchasing decision.
The biggest similarity of gasoline engines and diesel engines is they’re both types of internal combustion engines. In case you forgot, an internal combustion engine takes chemical energy and converts it to mechanical energy. This is what gives power to the wheels of your vehicle so that it will move forward or backward.
When we say, “chemical energy converting to mechanical energy,” this really means converting fuel into mechanical energy. Both engines require their own special type of fuel to make the internal combustion take place. But once the combustion occurs in the engine, the necessary power pressure is generated for the wheels and axles.
The biggest difference between the gasoline engine and diesel engine is regarding how the combustion process takes place in each one. First, a diesel engine requires you to pump diesel fuel into it at the gas station. Do not pump unleaded gasoline into a diesel engine or else you could damage the engine permanently. Unleaded gasoline is what goes into a gasoline engine. So first, you must understand the correct type of fuel to pump into your vehicle’s engine. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
Once you put the correct fuel in your vehicle and start driving off, there are explosions (combustions) taking place in your engine. If it’s a gasoline engine, you’ll have air and gasoline mixing together in the cylinders of the combustion chamber. After pistons compress the mixture, the spark plugs generate an electric spark which ignites it. Then power is generated for the wheels and axles.
A diesel engine works a little bit differently. Instead of the air and fuel being mixed together before compression, the pistons compress the air first. After that, diesel fuel is injected into the compressed air and immediately ignites. Since compressed air is hot, the fuel can ignite by coming in contact with it. There are no electric sparks needed.
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Which is Better?
Gasoline-based vehicles may be cheaper in price, but they don’t produce as much energy as diesel-based vehicles. In other words, the fuel economy of a diesel engine is better than that of a gasoline engine. This is the reason that big trucks are made with diesel engines because they don’t require as much fuel for long distance traveling. On top of that, they don’t produce as many carbon emissions as gasoline engines. Of course, diesel fuel is going to cost you more money. But since you won’t need to fill up your fuel tank as often, the cost factor balances out.
In recent years, the diesel engine has received numerous upgrades and advancements. There are no biodiesel engines which don’t require any petroleum-based fuel at all. Instead, they run on food ingredients like vegetable oil, peanut oil, or fry oil. Some biodiesel vehicle owners even produce their own biodiesel fuel at home using special kits that are sold online. Perhaps this may be the future of diesel engine use.