This report considers the "why" behind the growing popularity of diesel vehicles (U.S. manufacturers predict that by 1985 25% of the new cars may be diesel powered) and their viability as an energy-efficient alternative to gasoline powered vehicles. Diesel car buyers have listed fuel economy, low maintenance and durability as primary reasons for choosing diesels. Fuel cost savings to motorists are realized more through using less fuel than through lower priced fuel. Although diesel cars get more miles to the gallon than gasoline-powered cars, diesel fuel has a higher energy content than gasoline. Thus, the energy saving associated with the use of a diesel vehicle is only about 11%. However, an additional energy saving could be realized in the refinery. A nation-wide gasoline/distillate ratio of 0.9 could provide enough diesel fuel to convert 20% to 30% of the gasoline vehicle fleet to diesel depending on how much of the distillate output is required for jet aircraft fuel. Converting this percentage of the gasoline fleet to diesel would result in a 4% to 6% net national saving of automotive petroleum energy. Auto makers are pursuing technological advances such as turbocharging to increase horsepower and fuel economy in diesel engines and to reduce exhaust emissions. But the availability of diesel cars with their potentially substantial energy saving and inherently low carbon monoxide emissions will depend on the development of adequate controls for oxides of nitrogen and particulates or on the relaxation of standards for these pollutants.

  • Corporate Authors:

    SRI International

    333 Ravenswood Avenue
    Menlo Park, CA  United States  94025-3493

    Department of Energy

    1000 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20585
  • Authors:
    • Goen, R L
    • Ivory, M E
  • Publication Date: 1978-8

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 72 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00334888
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: SRI Proj CRU 6782 Final Rpt., CRESS Rpt. No. 52
  • Contract Numbers: EY-76-C-03-0115
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 28 1981 12:00AM