Why Do Semi-Trucks Run On Diesel?

Particularly in industries involving transport, diesel is a widely used fuel. For the engines in non-electrified railway locomotives, large marine transport vessels, and semi’s carrying heavy loads, it is commonly used. Additionally, diesel fuel powers construction and farm equipment, as well as some buses and ambulances. Two-stroke, slow speed diesel engines propel some of the most powerful and largest engines throughout the planet.

Why Use Diesel in Semi’s?

Heavy transport vehicles, including semi-truck/trailers, commonly use diesel fuel. But why? Take a look at the amount of time that most trucks are used for. People get the most that they can out of these vehicles. They are used for long periods of time, and used hard. In a day and age where everything is going green, it’s better to use an environmentally friendly vehicle if you’re going to be on the road for extended periods. Sadly, this is a hotly debated topic among certain environmentalists. But facts are facts. Diesel fuel is more efficient.

Example: 125,000 BTUs of energy are produced by gas while 147,000 BTUs of energy are produced by diesel products. Compared to gas, overall, diesel produces more energy than gas for every drop used.

Diesel Is Good for a Businesses’ Bottom Line

If you own a trucking company, you already know how important the bottom line is. You also know the challenges faced in order to keep that bottom line where it needs to be. Diesel fuel helps do just that. Better efficiency means less gas purchased. That’s a money saver – and companies are all about saving money.

Is Diesel the Better Fuel (compared to gas)?

While this is a matter of opinion, there are some distinct advantages to using diesel. Diesel engines exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Cheaper running costs
  • They use up to 20% less fuel
  • They are extremely efficient
  • More low-speed torque which means:
  • better towing ability
  • better overtaking power

On the downside however (particularly for new diesel engines), compared to petrol, tax is typically higher. And what about that noise? Yes, unfortunately, diesel engines can be considerably louder than gas engines. Why is this? The reason is that, with no external source of spark, fuel is ignited only by compression in diesel engines. With gasoline engines, however, combustion is initiated by spark plugs in the cylinders. So, you get more noise from a diesel engine because higher vibrations are produced. The combustion is more spontaneous and more violent.

Diesel Engines Exhibit A Greater Lifespan

It’s not uncommon for diesel engines to outlast gas engines. Part of the reason for this is that, at 2500 RPMs or less, diesel engines run at a lower RPM than do gas engines. Everything goes more gently because diesel engines are not raced. If you ran your gas engine the same way, it would last longer as well. And, once again compared to petrol engines, diesel engines run at a somewhat higher ratio of compression.

Wrap Up

So here it is in a nutshell. Diesel engines are used in semi’s and, as a matter of fact, are superior to gas engines because:

  • the power to weight ratio is better
  • the lifespan is longer
  • they cost less to run
  • fuel efficiency is better

At Mickey Genuine Parts, we carry the kinds of trailers that vehicles using diesel engines tow on a regular basis. We also carry trailers that are towed by gas engine vehicles. When you need a part, accessory, or even a used trailer, check with the people at Mickey. By speaking to one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives, you can get the lowdown on anything you need and expedited shipping for most parts. Contact us today.

Let’s keep truckin'.

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