Friday, February 08, 2008

Is the EU on better track?...

Consider this informed comment from a loyal reader:
Hey check out this PDF on the new BMW Diesel. I found out about it from
a science show I watch and went to the website and did some further
research. I find this kind of development very encouraging as it will
serve to change the opinions about diesels which in general are far more
fuel efficient than a Gasoline engine of similar output.

I know we will see this country continue down the "too long and too the
slow road" adoption of Diesel unless someone at the government level
forces migration by some forms of motivations in the form of tax credits
or subsides to make the distribution networks change over. In contract
the European community has been moving this way for quite some time and
currently companies such as BMW see 70-80% of their new cars sold in
Europe use Diesel instead or gasoline.

One a side note for those wondering about Diesel it is actually easier
to refine than gasoline, and produces more energy per gallon thus more
efficient. It should also be noted that it would not take much effort to
distribute it (unlike Hydrogen which Rick Wagoner of GM says is at least
10 years away) since most stations have several different grades of
gasoline that are simply marketing tricks and make very little
difference to most cars.

I myself have owned cars in the past that did require a higher octane
than 87 RON and understand we need a 91 RON slot on the pump, but do we
really need all the other grades besides 87 RON (minimal RON required by
most engines) and anything else other than 91 RON (the minimal required
by most higher performance sport cars) this is to say do we really need
5 grades of gas as is the case on my local 7-11 pump. Could we replace
one of the mid grades with with E85 and the other with Diesel or
BIO-Diesel. +++ BTW E85 is about 105 RON +++.

The market dynamics argument is simply another form of the famous
"Chicken and Egg" argument ; as why would people buy a Diesel or Ethanol
burning vehicles if they simply can't find fuel. This limits the market
from the very beginning, and makes the "Market Dynamics" statement
inappropriate. If we want to give generous tax credits like "W" has to
the Oil Industry it should be for something they actually did that was a
positive thing , like building a more easily available distribution
network for Alternative Fuels of which unfortunately in the USA Diesel
apparently is considered.
I could go diesel in a heartbeat myself. But it's important to remember we are a corn nation, not an oilseed continent like Europe. Rapeseed works well in their climate and for biodiesel. But one larger problem for diesel fans is that it is the second, even if better idea, and the guys that got to the filling station first are selling ethanol. They won't cede territory easily, making the "shelf space" issue significant for fuel retailers.

Still, the inherent efficiencies of the machines (diesels) themselves will have impact, especially on the larger engine market sector. as noted in some other posts, fuel prices are roiling the whole transportation industry, and forcing big changes.

[Thanks, Butch]


Anonymous said...

I agree about diesel. REcently I followed my daughter and her prospective husband from Birmingham, Al. to Leesville,La. via Shreveport, La. this after filling my wife's e320 cdi Mercedes with b-20 biodiesel at our home in Rome,Ga. We filled our car in Leesville with commerical disease. And after dropping my daughter's fiancee proceeded to drive around Leesville for and afternoon looking for at realestate, to Alexandria then yto Shreveport and back to Rome,Ga via Birmingham. When we arrived in rome our car showed a 120 mile range left in the tank. Poor Craig filled his jeep Cherokee(2 wheel drive) in Birmingham, topped off in JAckson,Miss, filled it in Vicksburg and was on empty when he arrived in Leesville. we averaged 38 miles per gallon in a car that will do zero to sixty in 6.6 seconds and as much luxury as anyone could want. By using a 500 gallon tank at home and puirc hasing the biodisel in bulk when prices were at their lowest last summer, I am running on $2.55 per gallon fuel. Somehow this makes more sense to me than gas.I would run b-100 biodiesel if I could get it. Gene Daivdson, Rome, Ga.

Anonymous said...

Correction: we filled our car in Leesville with commerical diesel not disease. gene davidson

John Phipps said...


Thanks for clearing that up. Ya had me wondering.

Seriously though, I wonder if we're too far down the ethanol road to see many diesels in the US.

Anonymous said...

Here in mid Michigan you can buy biodiesel in proportions of almost 100% if you buy in bulk and have it delivered. We had a tank of 100% on the farm that we ran in our tractors and my 2002 Chevy diesel pickup. We also made our own blend by having another tank of conventional diesel and mixing the two. However, you have to be careful what you buy. We had extreme problems last year buying biodiesel from a local supplier who assumed it was soy biodiesel. It plugged up engines and chewed up fuel filters like crazy. That supplier found that his source may have been something other than soy--such as cooking oil. The supplier was unhappy because they felt they were misled, and they made good to us on the hundreds of dollars of fuel filters we went through.
I'm still waiting for an American made SUV that runs diesel with mileage in the mid to upper 20's, so I can give my husband my 2002 truck.

John Phipps said...


We had a similar experience two years ago when we started using biodiesel. Our supplier is still not getting the good stuff, I don' think.

As for making your husband drive your hand-me-down vehicles, I think you should be ashamed. I'm pretty sure that's against the Geneva Convention or something.