Get rid of it...just kidding.
As you are well aware the price of gasoline continues to rise. This means we are spending more money on gas than ever before. One reason for the rising gasoline prices at the pump is that people are driving larger vehicles thus burning more and more fuel. In a world where trucks and sport utility vehicles reign supreme it would be helpful to find a way in which to spend less on fuel costs. One way to save money on fuel costs is by owning a diesel engine vehicle.
Starting at the end of 1998 American drivers started to buy more new pickup, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and vans than passenger cars for the first time in history. This so-called light truck segment of vehicles made up for over 50% of the new vehicles sales in November of 1998 and has only risen since then.
The trend in America is toward bigger, more functional and gasoline guzzling SUVs. The continuing higher cost of a barrel of oil affects us by raising the price of gasoline and it is putting a crunch on this large SUV driving segment of the population. There is something that can be done though. It will mean changing out a gasoline powered SUV for a diesel driven one but the change will be a way in which to save money.
If the idea of a diesel powered vehicle brings to mind a clattering, loud rumbling engine with smoke blowing out the tailpipes you need to update that vision. There is a new generation of clean burning diesel engines. Western Europeans have been enjoying this new style of diesel vehicles for some time now. It is finally time for us Americans to see the benefits of the new diesel engine as well.
Many leading car experts have stated that they believe if consumers would test drive a new diesel vehicle that they would be turned on to the whole experience and be ready for a change. The car manufacturers must also believe we are ready for diesel trucks and SUVs because they are giving us a diesel option that was not available before.
Ford's largest SUV is the Excursion and it is also the first SUV in their lineup to receive a diesel engine. This engine option is called the 6.0L Power Stroke. It is a V8 with direct injection and has a 32 valve diesel with a cast iron block and cylinder heads. It has a 5 speed automatic transmission that gives the driver 325 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. No one can say this SUV is not ready to pull a serious load. The diesel engine option also has a power-train that has a tow/haul mode to help the driver safely tow large loads when on a steep grade.
Jeep has also found that their drivers are also diesel enthusiasts so they have come out with an option for them. A diesel powered Jeep Liberty was a new feature for their 2005 model lineup and has continued to be an option since plus they added in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that you can choose a diesel engine for. When they first introduced the Jeep Liberty that was diesel powered it was the first diesel engine in the U.S. for a mid-sized SUV. This particular vehicle had a 2.8L common rail diesel with an estimated 160 hp with 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine continues to be advanced with a 3.7 Liter V6 engine that is rated at 210 horsepower.
A car manufacturer that is very familiar with diesel engines is Volkswagen. Volkswagen has long been a favorite diesel car builder over in Western Europe. They have now progressed to having an SUV with diesel power. They also got a jump on the competition in America by starting in 2004 with a diesel powered Touareg.
The VW Touareg began in the US with a 5.0L V10 twin turbo direct injection (TDI) diesel engine. It gives the driver 310 hp and a very impressive 554 lb-ft of torque. The 5.0 TDI has been found to be extremely clean running as long as it is fed clean fuel. VW engineers have worked hard to make this engine even cleaner than their own 4.2L gasoline V8 engine. Amazingly enough, the diesel engine runs quieter than the gasoline engine.
Anti-diesel fans will claim that diesel engines are loud and do not accelerate as quickly as gasoline engines but engineers (especially VW) have been working hard to make these accusations untrue. The Touareg TDI features a drive by wire control that allows the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5. That is quite quick for a sports utility vehicle of any type. Test drivers have found this diesel SUV to be extremely quiet and smooth to drive.
VW has since added the newer Touareg 2 to its diesel SUV lineup. This comes with a new 3.0-liter turbo-diesel (TDI) V6.
There is little incentive for car manufacturers to change the design of SUVs. Even with the numerous fuel inefficient features consumers continue to buy them. The heavy suspension and large engines cause the vehicle's weight to be considerable. Their tires are built for off road conditions instead of normal roadways thus causing more friction. Then there is the high profile that increases wind resistance. All of these factors add up to poor fuel efficiency.
What can you as a consumer do if you want to drive an SUV without paying so much for fuel costs? Follow the lead of Western Europe and go for a diesel. It has been speculated that America would save about 9 billion in oil imports and 5 million ton of CO2 emissions if the auto industry would embrace the diesel engine. It is also believed with the cleaner more efficient diesel engines that the auto industry would be able to get 28 miles per gallon. Once the diesel engine is able to give you this get fuel efficiency it could save drivers of diesel cars about 50% on their fuel fill up bills. Now that is a big way to save money on a big car.