Tuesday 17 January 2023

For Dieselheads

 What do the bumper stickers say?

Gas is for cleaning parts, alcohol is for drinking, diesel is for POWER

Black smoke don't mean it's broke ...

Anyhow, if you've noticed an ever increasing price differential between diesel and petrol, it's about to get worse.  A Euro-ban on importing Russian diesel starts on 5 February; and Russia has for a long time been the major supplier, its oil industry being disproportionately geared to diesel production (having less cracking capacity than most modern fleets of refineries, natch).  All this has been obvious for ten months, since it became clear the EU was digging in on sanctions, so many enterprises will have bought forward: but it'll work its way into retail prices (and inflation) quite soon. 

The whole diesel thing is odd.  I've never heard an explanation as to why the UK government "encouraged diesel" some decades ago (does anyone know?) - but everyone knew it stank.  A very long time ago - the late '70's - I visited an advanced motor engineering research facility and was told they were pouring considerable effort into improving diesel engines, in order to make them acceptable for the ordinary motorist.  The bloke said then that it was a matter of historical accident that petrol engines were (at that time) so vastly superior for cars, since both petrol and diesel were alongside each other on the starting-line at the turn of the 19th century when ICE vehicles were in their infancy: but for some arbitrary reason over the following 70 years, all the effort had gone into petrol engines.   This alone (they said) accounted for why diesel engines were fit only for taxis at that time: because petrol had no intrinsic advantages, aside from the smell.  

Particulates didn't trouble people much in them days ...   Let's hear from you, dieselheads!



Anonymous said...

I've never heard an explanation as to why the UK government "encouraged diesel" some decades ago (does anyone know?)

I assume it was pure mpg efficiency. A 1.5 diesel engine is more economical and lasts longer than an equivalent petrol engine. Why don't lorries run on petrol?

I had a great little Suzuki petrol car that died at 200,000 miles with the bodywork still in great shape. If they'd made it a diesel I'd still be driving it.

"its oil industry being disproportionately geared to diesel production"

Remind me again what military vehicles run on?

While I take all the "legacy of slavery" stuff with a pinch of salt in that slavery doesn't make you kill people in such quantities, I'm sure there must be some cultural effects in terms of corruption and petty dishonesty - and most Russians were effectively slaves until around the same time black Americans were freed.

E-K said...

I thought it was because the Germans had mastered diesel engineering (emissions) an had pressed the UK to promote it.

Anonymous said...

Diesel emits lower CO2 compared to petrol.

I guess someone was buying or selling CO2 certificates / credits and it made sense at the time.

10-20 years time old electric vehicles will be seen as polluting.

Challenger 2 Tank
Fuel capacity 1572 litres
Road range 550km
Off road range 250km

Imagine paying to fill that up.

Anonymous said...

110% off topic, but remember Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik, who went out with a weather girl then a Cheeky Girl?

I'm delighted to report that he has two children by a woman named ...

Sabina Vankova.

I hope she lives up to her name.

Anomalous Cowshed said...

Going with Anon, straight in at Number One.

MPG plus power - torque at low revs. Diesel engines are a lot better at lugging weight around, particularly getting the stuff moving in the first damn place. Plus, they seem to be more reliable.

From memory, back in the '70s, nobody wanted to buy a diesel, 'cos smoky, smelly, rattley and all the rest of it. They looked like typical Friday Cars.

Then we got common rail by around the late '90s, which happened after the 4x4/Chelsea Tractor boom (RAV4 introduced mid-94, and various things like the Freelander followed swiftly), then SUVs became a segment all on it's own (also MPVs).

So the Gov' promoted diesel on the grounds of MPG, as the tech had fixed the perceived issues for consumers. And diesel was cheaper than petrol.

What I'm not sure about is why the 4x4 boom happened. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (aka Premier League footballers) buying Range Rovers? Or a shift in employment within the construction industry so newly independent contractors needed their own pick-ups and Land Rover couldn't supply? Mitsubishi tried to flog a pickup as a lifestyle vehicle, the A-Life (basically an L200) I think.

dearieme said...

We used to own a Toyota with an old-style diesel engine. No acceleration, alas.

We replaced it with a petrol v8. Voo, voo, voom.

We're back to diesel now though, of the common rail generation, but before the compulsion to add kit that makes the damn things less reliable.

Next? Twisted rubber bands?

Anonymous said...

dearieme - those old style diesels could be deadly. To lug around the kids we had a petrol Renault Savanna estate - 7 seater plus boot space. When it died we replaced with the same car but a 1.9 diesel. Learned very quickly and dangerously that you couldn't overtake by just pulling out and flooring it as you could with the petrol version. Do that with an unaspirated diesel and ... nothing happens.

Anonymous said...

Diesel does not need a catalytic converter, it does not produce carbon monoxide only CO2. That is why they can use Diesel engines in mines underground. When I saw them they were belching black smoke but you could breathe it, just the PM10s would kill you eventually. There fire as I remember it diesels were to help the environment. Yes I know it makes no sense but at as no one in govt has any idea of science or technology or dare I even say engineering you can see why it happened.

We are talking Gordon Brown and Tony Blair here, neither of whom would give Ferdinand Porsche a run for his money.

All the best


Anonymous said...

Are there many EV charging points for a Challenger on the roads to the Donbas?

Is that why Putin is taking out the power network so his fully fueled tanks can compete?

Nick Drew said...

Seriously: diesel in Ukraine is becoming a big problem, mentioned here before. As we know, the whole of E.Europe (and Germany) depended heavily on Russian diesel exports. A 100% ban is coming in on 5 Feb (IIRC). Neighbouring countries are somewhat reluctant to send Ukr as much diesel as it needs - a problem for tanks, but also for the mobile generators that are used when missile strikes interrupt regular power supplies.

Not quite the mechanism you suggested, anon @ 8:25 - but a similar end-result.

Anonymous said...

Never mind, ND - they can buy the diesel from India, made IIRC from Russian crude.

Jeremy Poynton said...

The whole diesel thing is odd. I've never heard an explanation as to why the UK government "encouraged diesel" some decades ago (does anyone know?) - but everyone knew it stank.

That utter clod, Gordon Brown was responsible for this


Who else? The same Gordon Brown who flogged our gold on the cheap, doubled doctors salaries and gave them the weekend (RIP AE!) - you remember the guy? 😉