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(BPT) - Not that long ago, finding a diesel car or truck - a truck with fewer than 18 wheels, anyway - on an American highway was about as rare as an icy road in July. Not so today. The era of dirty, smelly and noisy diesel vehicles has gone the way of the 8-track tape player, clearing a path for high-profile and increasingly popular diesel sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Fueling great mileage
One of the main advantages of diesel vehicles is their excellent fuel economy. Diesel fuel costs about 7 percent more than gasoline at the pump but it can take a car or truck much further down the road. On average, a vehicle running on diesel fuel gains 30 to 35 percent in fuel efficiency over a vehicle running on traditional gasoline. Diesel fuel has a greater amount of energy per gallon than gasoline, says Neil Hoff of CHS, a company that produces diesel fuel for fleet operations across the country. This is why a diesel car can average closer to 50 miles per gallon on the highway.
Similar to traditional gasoline, consumers can upgrade at the pump to a premium diesel for added performance. “Using a premium diesel fuel, such as Cenex Roadmaster premium diesel, can increase fuel efficiency and power by another 5 percent,” says Hoff. “The premium diesel packages are also ultra-low sulfur, which is cleaner-burning than a standard diesel. Drivers appreciate the combination of added power with fewer emissions.”
Responding to demand
Though long popular in Europe, diesel vehicles have not yet enjoyed widespread popularity in the United States. However, American automakers are taking a cue from consumers who desire an alternative to gasoline-fueled cars.
For example, Chevrolet has introduced its 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, a compact car that boasts 46 mpg on the highway; and the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel claims to drive up to 730 miles on one tank of gas. Other companies, including Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all offer diesel varieties that carmakers hope consumers will warm to. Trucks are not left out of the equation, with diesel pickups available from Chevrolet/GMC, Ford and Ram.
Laura Anderson of Minneapolis has owned a diesel-powered Volkswagen Passat for more than a year. “I do a lot of highway driving,” says Anderson, “so the great fuel economy and the power of the diesel engine are what sold me on giving diesel a try. I’m very glad I made that decision. I love my car, and I love saving so much money on gas.”
Powered by technology
Diesel engines, too, have undergone great advances, such as high-pressure injection technologies that promote engine health and longevity. “Diesel engines have come a long way in the past decade and are certainly more marketable than they used to be,” says Hoff.
“Today’s diesel engines are quieter and smoother running than ever. When you pair that with great fuel economy and reduced sulfur levels, for consumers, that’s a combination that’s hard to beat.”
For more information on diesel fuels, and to find out how you can nominate someone you know for free fuel, visit www.TanksofThanks.com.
(BPT) - Now that frigid temperatures and stormy days have come back in earnest, it’s time for car owners to think seriously about the road conditions ahead and take the simple but important steps to ensure safe winter travel this year.
Bad weather is linked to 7,000 deaths, 800,000 injuries and more than 1.5 million crashes every year, according to a long-term study published in the American Journal of Public Health. While these numbers are scary enough, even minor breakdowns can lead to real trouble on snow-packed roads.
"There's nothing worse than breaking down on a cold winter night, stranded on the side of the road," says Jim Fults, auto insurance leader at Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. "A few basic precautions can dramatically reduce the risk of getting stuck on the road, including roadside assistance provided through your insurance policy.”
People can avoid or minimize dangerous weather-related breakdowns and accidents by performing regular checks, so motorists are advised to follow these steps to increase the odds of arriving safe and sound:
* Get your car checked: A professional check is worth it, for added peace of mind.
* Check your tires: Rain, snow and ice can make roads lethal. Check your tire tread and make sure the air pressure is OK.
* Light the way: Keep lights clean and make sure they are working.
* Get charged up: A dead battery is the main cause of breakdowns, so get it checked and replaced if necessary.
* Cooling system: Ensure this is checked and that the anti-freeze content meets the manufacturer requirements.
* Wipers: Check windscreen wipers and replace if they fail to clear the screen correctly.
* Fuel: Ensure you have more than enough for your journey.
Be prepared and take the following items with you:
* A fully charged cellphone
* Shovel in case of snow
* De-icer and a scraper for windows
* Blanket and warm clothing in case the worst happens
* Sturdy shoes or rubber boots
* Some snacks, such as energy bars
* Extra fuel
"We urge motorists to set aside some time to carry out a series of simple checks," Fults says. "Some may seem like common sense, but you'll be surprised at how many drivers forget after the summer. For example, it is crucial to ensure all your lights are clean and working properly. Always replace any broken bulbs immediately. If you don't, you will not only find it difficult to see the road clearly, you run the risk of not being seen by other drivers."
In addition, it is a good idea to put together an emergency winter survival kit so that you are prepared should you breakdown. Remember to include a flashlight, blanket, ice scraper and a first aid kit.