Diesel Cars: The Best Compromise For Now?
These days, fuel economy is one of the most important things to consider when buying a car. Where once upon a time, efficiency was simply an extraneous figure that relatively few people placed much emphasis on, today it is sometimes seen as the primary issue. People in general feel a much greater drive to be kind to the environment today, either because they care about the future of the planet or just in order to fit in with their friends.
In any case, the old-fashioned gas-guzzling monsters have been greatly reduced in popularity in recent years and have been largely replaced by a slew of more economical options. Among these are unusually-efficient gas-fueled cars, diesel cars and hybrids. In this article, we will look at each of these in turn.
Gasoline: Not Dead Yet
While traditional gas-powered cars are falling out of favor, some designers have been making impressive strides in increasing the fuel efficiency of traditionally-fueled engines. Advanced technology that includes exotic mixture control, spark timing and combustion chamber design have begun to make gas engines seem more viable than we once thought, for the near future at least.
Many smaller cars are making good use of this sort of engine today, and if you are not impressed by diesel cars or hybrids then the newer gas designs can certainly be a good alternative that provides the most familiar driving experience while still reducing emissions. Realistically, however, the days of traditional gas-powered cars are probably numbered, which is why our next consideration is the diesel option.
Diesel Cars: Stable Workhorses
Traditionally, diesel has always been associated more with heavy-duty and agricultural equipment than with automobiles. Certainly, it does not command the same status that gasoline does with the sporting crowd, although more and more racing car designers are now starting to use diesel as their fuel of choice. Diesel engines have some advantages and some disadvantages. On the plus side, they are typically more efficient than gas engines.
Unfortunately, this efficiency has traditionally been accompanied by a relative lack of refinement. This typically takes the form of a louder and less pleasant noise; some diesel cars do sound a bit like tractors. However, great strides are being made and a great many modern diesel designs are on a par with their gas equivalents. This makes diesel cars one of the best compromises available. We will return to them shortly.
Hybrid Cars: A Hint Of The Future
Hybrids are all the rage, and it is not hard to see why. Despite its ubiquity, electricity still holds a great deal of drama and mystery for many people when used in unfamiliar ways. There is still something fascinating and faintly unbelievable about electric cars. The sensation of running a hybrid for a number of miles on pure electric drive is very impressive; they produce almost no noise and the drive-train is often seamless.
However, while hybrids are probably the way forwards until wholly-electric cars are more viable, they are not necessarily all they are cracked up to be. Firstly, their emissions are not always as good as might be supposed, with some smaller traditionally-powered cars actually outperforming them. Secondly, even where the emissions are impressive, the batteries used can sometimes be so harmful to the environment during production that they negate the otherwise good intentions.
Diesel Cars: The Best Compromise For Now?
We return to diesel cars because they stand a good chance of being the best compromise currently available. On the one hand, they are driven and maintained very similarly to the vehicles with which you are already familiar. They also use currently-existing technology that has been tested and proved to work very well over decades of research and development. Your choices are also typically far wider than with hybrid or electric cars.
All in all, this makes diesel seem very attractive. One possible downside to diesel is that the engines tend to be heavier than their gasoline equivalents, which can be detrimental to the handling of a sports car, but realistically, many drivers will never even notice the difference, and maximum performance is typically satisfied whenever you are concerned with fuel economy anyway.
Small diesel cars are some of the most efficient vehicles around today. Even many hybrids struggle to keep up with them in terms of efficiency. Yet despite this, the engines are extremely reliable and dependable, requiring no special maintenance or expense compared to the car you already drive.
Modern diesel engines are typically very quiet and smooth, so try to banish any bad memories you may have of designs from the distant past. It hardly needs to be said that you should test-drive any car before buying it, so go out and try a few diesel cars and see whether they suit you. You are likely to find that they fulfill all of your criteria without any fuss at all.
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Image Source Mercedes E 200 CDI By S 400 HYBRID (own photo) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons