The emissions scandal that’s engulfed German car manufacturer Volkswagen has shone a light on diesel cars. Who makes them? How popular are they? Here are five things to know about diesel vehicles:
In the tank: Diesel fuel is a mixture of hydrocarbons with varying boiling points that are obtained during the distillation of crude oil. Diesel fuel specifications differ for various fuel grades and in different countries.
History: Diesel engines in automobiles date back to the 1930s, mostly in Europe, but they were mainly used in commercial vehicles like ambulances and delivery trucks until the 1960s, when they gained popularity for having better mileage than the gasoline-fuelled counterparts.
Early pioneers: Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot.
Popularity: Half of all cars now sold in Europe are diesel-powered, but they make up less than five per cent of the North American market. That’s partly because diesel fuel in Europe is generally taxed less and has been cheaper than gasoline. What’s more, diesel isn’t carried at every gas station in North America, making the cars less convenient. Memories of the stinky, soot-belching models of decades past also still trouble some North American drivers.
Modern-day diesel models: The popular AutoTrader website recently named the best diesels of 2015, among them the Audi A3 (Audi is owned by Volkswagen), the BMW 3Series, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Chrysler Ram 1500, the Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, the Mercedes-Benz GLK250 BlueTEC, and, of course, Volkswagen’s Jettas and Passats.
Source: Autotrader.com;greencarreports.com, archives
The Canadian Press