5 Interesting Facts About Diesel Fuel

Think you know everything about diesel fuel? Think again- check out these facts about the fuel:

1. Diesel engines do not have spark plugs. A diesel engine injects fuel into a highly compressed air, and the heat already present within the internal combustion chamber, ignites the fuel. However, in cold weather, heat derived from the compression of air is absorbed by the cylinder block. So, in high-speed diesel engines, a heating device called a glow plug is placed inside the engine chamber.

2. Diesel engines can reach a fuel efficiency of 40% or higher. That means 40% of the fuel moves the vehicle, while 60% is lost to engine functions and friction. That may not seem impressive, but then compare that number with gas engines, which typically have efficiencies of about 20%. It's easy to see why heavy trucks run on diesel fuel.

3. It's cleaner than you thought. In the U.S. diesel engines are required to meet the same EPA pollution standards as gasoline engines. Since 2007, vehicles running on diesel fuel have what is known as a "diesel particulate filter" installed to remove particulate matter from the exhaust gas.

4. When it comes to diesel fuel, moderate cruising speeds are best. The diesel engine derives its peak power at speeds below 65 miles per hour. Depending on the vehicle and diesel engine size and specifications, keeping the engine below 2000 or even 1500 revolutions per minute (RPM) will maintain good peak torque (power). Compare that to gasoline engines which require higher revolutions per minute (as high as 6700 RPM in a modern gas engine) to achieve maximum horsepower and obtain strong acceleration for high road speeds.

5. When it comes to safety and fuel, one of the great things about diesel is that it is not flammable. This is one of the reasons armored fighting vehicles use diesel. For these armored transports, it also helps that diesel engines have a lower probability of stalling as well as the ability to provide higher torque.

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