After driving a diesel truck for the last month and a half it is my opinion that the diesels are dead. Mercedes’ BlueTec clean diesel system is expensive and incredibly inconvenient. And VW’s TDI clean diesel system basically doesn’t work without fraudulent software. The reality is that gas vehicles are cleaner and cheaper, and electric vehicles (at least for cars) are the future.
Diesel engines have some big benefits: they are more efficient, more durable, and get better miles per gallon. But diesel fuel is more expensive, and the engines emit soot (black smoke), which is a restricted pollutant. To clean up the soot, the BlueTec system requires you to add a few gallons of DEF every three or four tanks. DEF is Diesel Exhaust Fluid, and is almost impossible to find at night on the interstate in the rain.
Until VW’s house of cards collapsed, diesels seemed competitive with gas engines. Although there are definitely benefits to diesels, there is no doubt in my mind that gas engines and EVs will prevail for cars. The inconvenience and expense of diesels may be OK for trucks — at least until batteries get cheaper. For more about the efficiency and costs of diesel and gas engines — and how they compare to future EVs, please Listen Up to the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.