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Diesel and Gasoline Engines: An environmental perspective

Added: (Mon Nov 06 2006)

Pressbox (Press Release) - There has been a lot of debate concerning the environmental safety of the diesel engine versus the gasoline engine. In the past the diesel engine was a large polluter and was deemed to be very noisy and unreliable. This was one of the major downfalls of this engine design.

Today however it is seen that this is no longer the case. While the diesel engine continues to be more of a polluter than the gasoline engine in some aspects it is not as bad as before and in fact beats the gasoline engine on some fronts. The diesel engine has been greatly improved in terms of its efficiency and has reduced the oil consumption.

Due to the lowered per mile fuel consumption of the diesel engine it can be seen that the diesel engine releases less carbon dioxide than the gasoline engine. This is a vital point as the gas carbon dioxide is a great contributor to global warming. It is however seen that in terms of particulate pollution diesel engines are larger culprits when compared to the gasoline engine. They are also producers of smog forming pollutants.

These particulates are largely classes as soot particles and this falls into three major classes. These are particulate matter that is greater than 10 microns, particulate matter that is smaller than 10 microns or 10 microns and particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller. It is a fact that these sizes can be related to the particular effects of these particles on humans.

The particulate matter that is greater than 10 microns is not as dangerous as it is ejected from the body by sneezing, coughing and nose blowing. Smaller particles settle in the windpipe and cause irritation and the particulate matter that is 2.5 microns is seen to settle in the lungs and cause serious irritation, mutation of tissues and many serious medical problems such as asthma and cancer. This therefore makes the issue of diesel pollution a serious and deadly one.

This means there will be more serious and tougher emission rules for the diesel engine to adhere too and the need for high tech diesel engines that use fuel that is low in sulfur. The benefits of this fuel may in fact however not be worth it as the production of the fuel will generate more pollutants.

There is however still a future for diesel as it will indeed have a role to play in the overall reduction of the production of greenhouse gases as well as oil consumption. The diesel engine will continue to be advanced but whether it will catch up to the technologies employed in the gasoline engines is a question that remains. The gasoline engine technologies in use have been ahead of the diesel engine in terms of air pollution and continue to remain ahead.

If the diesel engine can offer the same efficiency of the gasoline engine in terms of pollutants then it will be the engine of choice without any dispute. Until that time it continues to trail the gasoline engine even though it has better fuel efficiency.

Submitted by:John Stafford
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