Friday, July 22, 2011

Switch to Diesel, screw the planet

These days a lot of Light Motor Vehicles(LMVs) are launched with diesel engines.. and touted as the more economical and sensible option. Indiblogger and fiat even have a blogging contest to encourage Bloggers to write about the advantages diesel has over petrol
to know more about the contest click here :rolleyes:
to know about Fiat's upgrade offer click here:whistle:

Few of the entries in the contest will bother to talk about the reason why Diesel is cheaper than Petrol. So i thought i would. :cool:

Why is Diesel Cheaper in India(and simillar developing countries)?
Diesel is cheaper in India because of government subsidies .. that are for the benefit of farmers and truck and bus fleets whose vehicles run on Diesel. It was never meant for the average city slicker's LMV that plies city roads.
With more and more luxury hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs taking advantage of this.. its inevitable that the Government is going to wake up some day soon.. and rework their whole Diesel subsidy logic.. :yikes: (its already happening, read the update at the end of this post)

and then all those who bought into the "diesel is more economical and sensible" logic are going to get royally screwed..:ko: because in case you didn't know, Diesel is actually more expensive or costs the same as petrol in the rest of the developed world.

How does it effect the environment?

Diesel has less CO emissions. Which is very good obviously. but thats all that most car manufacturers will tell you about the environmental impact of Diesel engines. However diesel exhaust has a lot of soot and "fine particulate matter" which are carcinogenic.:no:

In other words while theres a lot less impact on the environment itself.. we humans(and lesser creatures we share the planet with) on the other hand get screwed..with cancer.

One could argue that since humans are bad for the environment, and diesel is bad for humans.. QED Diesel is really good for the planet!:coffee:

Whats happening in other countries?
In the USA Environmental Protection Agency standards for diesel fuel sulfur content took effect in 2006, requiring that the sulphur content of diesel be reduced drastically, from a maximum of 500 parts per million to no more than 15 parts per million(in india it is supposed to be 50ppm in cities -source) for 80 percent of all diesel sold for road use.

New sulphur standards for off-highway diesel fuel (such as fuel for generators, construction machinery and marine use) began to be phased in the next year. The added processing was an expensive proposition, and the cost ultimately reflected in the selling price of the fuel.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel
In india Delhi first introduced "Ultra-low-sulfur diesel" on April 1, 2010 as a step aimed at curbing vehicular pollution in the capital.
The sulphur content in the diesel currently being used was previously 350 parts per million (ppm) while it will be 15 ppm in ULSD. (for implementation in other countries click here)

The refining process that removes the sulfur also reduces the aromatic content and density of the fuel, resulting in a minor decrease in the energy content, by about 1%. This decrease in energy content may result in slightly reduced peak power and fuel economy. Also in certain models the use of ULSD can cause seals to shrink and fule pump failure.

The better greener option: Biodiesel
Biodiesel has better lubricating properties and much higher cetane ratings than today's lower sulfur diesel fuels. Biodiesel addition reduces fuel system wear,[28] and in low levels in high pressure systems increases the life of the fuel injection equipment that relies on the fuel for its lubrication. Depending on the engine, this might include high pressure injection pumps, pump injectors (also called unit injectors) and fuel injectors.


Older diesel Mercedes are popular for running on biodiesel.
Biodiesel has better lubricating properties and much higher cetane ratings than today's lower sulfur diesel fuels. Biodiesel addition reduces fuel system wear,[28] and in low levels in high pressure systems increases the life of the fuel injection equipment that relies on the fuel for its lubrication. Depending on the engine, this might include high pressure injection pumps, pump injectors (also called unit injectors) and fuel injectors.

The calorific value of biodiesel is about 37.27 MJ/kg.[29] This is 9% lower than regular Number 2 petrodiesel. Variations in biodiesel energy density is more dependent on the feedstock used than the production process. Still these variations are less than for petrodiesel.[30] It has been claimed biodiesel gives better lubricity and more complete combustion thus increasing the engine energy output and partially compensating for the higher energy density of petrodiesel.
-wikipedia

In india:
Biodiesel is now being produced locally in India for use in three-wheeler motor rickshaws. These engines actually run on regular diesel fuel or CNG, but in the past kerosene was used because it was far cheaper, and worked just as well. However, kerosene was dirty and wasn't as clean-burning. Biodiesel is rapidly replacing both kerosene and diesel as a more efficient, cheap, and clean alternative.

Biodiesel is being used experimentally to run state transport corporation buses in Karnataka. University of Agriculture Sciences at Bangalore has identified many elite lines of Jatropha curcas and Millettia pinnata (pongam tree). Large scale activities have been initiated quite recently. For example, large-scale plantations have been initiated in North-East India and Jharkhand by D1 Williamson Magor Bio Fuel Limited, a joint venture between D1 Oils of U.K. and Williamson Magor of India. The hilly areas of the North-East are ideal for growing this hardy, low-maintenance plant.


So in a nutshell.. if you already have a diesel vehicle.. look into alternate fuel options. If your planning to buy a diesel vehicle.. well bear in mind that it won't be the "economical" option for long.

UPDATE(27Dec2012)
The government of India has finally decided to phase out the subsidy on Diesel, read about it here.
heres an exerpt:
"The government is contemplating raising diesel prices by Re 1 per litre each month for next 10 months to bring retail rates at par with their cost,” a oil ministry source said in New Delhi.

State-owned oil companies currently sell diesel at a loss of Rs 9.28 per litre and the hikes over the next 10 months will eliminate all of the losses and absolve the government from providing any subsidy on the nation’s most consumed fuel."


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