If you drive a vehicle that requires regular gasoline, you probably don’t think much about diesel fuel and vice versa. However, you should know the actual difference between diesel and gas, especially when it comes time to buy a new vehicle. Let’s discuss!
How Do Diesel and Gasoline Engines Work?
It is important to know how the combustion process works in both engines to understand the difference between diesel and regular gas. Both diesel and gasoline engines work on the same mechanism when it comes to using fuel.
Your vehicle converts chemical energy from fuel into mechanical energy. Small, controlled explosions, called combustions, convert the fuel into energy. This energy forces the pistons in your engine to move up and down within the cylinders. The pistons are connected to the crankshaft, which generates motion to create the power to move your vehicle forward.
The primary difference between diesel and gasoline is how the combustions occur when converting fuel to energy.
How Do Gasoline Engines Convert Fuel?
Gasoline engines use a mixture of fuel and air to create power for the vehicle to propel. The mixture is compressed by the pistons and ignited from the sparks created by the spark plugs.
How Do Diesel Engines Convert Fuel?
Diesel engines work in the opposite way. They compress the air before injecting the fuel into the combustion chamber. Diesel engines do not require spark plugs because the compressed air already creates a high compression ratio and heats up, causing the fuel to ignite.
Diesel Fuel vs. Gasoline
Regular and diesel gasoline are made up of mined crude oil. Diesel fuel comes in the form of crude oils and is refined into what you put into your vehicle. Regular gasoline is also made using crude oil through the process of fractional distillation.
Diesel costs less because the refining process is easier. Diesel engines can produce better fuel economy as compared to regular gasoline engines. Diesel engines also provide better acceleration and increase the power of your vehicle. In many ways, diesel engines are more efficient.
Difference Between a Gas and Diesel Car:
Have you ever heard a loud truck rip through the neighborhood emitting a loud noise as it goes past? It used to be quite easy to figure out the difference between a gas or diesel-powered car simply by noticing the sound it produced. However, this isn’t always the case today due to the improvements made to diesel engines. Still, if your car produces a rumbly, tractor sound when it starts, you probably have a diesel engine. If it produces a smooth sound then it is likely regular gasoline engine.
Here are some ways you can tell if your car uses gas or diesel:
- If your engine has spark plugs, a throttle body, or a mass airflow sensor, then it is a gasoline engine. Diesel engines do not have spark plugs and they operate without the throttle body or the mass airflow sensor.
- The little door on the fuel tank is typically labeled with “unleaded gasoline only” or “diesel only.” You can also find information about the type of gas you should use in your vehicle’s user manual.
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