4 min read
Should Diesel Motors Be Left Idling?
I was wondering should diesel motors be left idling as I drive by a truck stop or travel plaza in the wintertime. I see lots of smoke pouring out of the exhaust pipes of semi-trucks standing still. Why is that happening? Don't those truckers know they're polluting the air and wasting fuel?
The answers to the questions are both yes and no. Diesel motors idling at the truck stop are not a conspiracy to ruin the environment and waste a precious natural resource. You've got to look a little further than what you can actually see to understand the reason for this questionable behavior. The decision to run the diesel motor while the rig isn't moving is a strategic consideration and not done on a whim or without awareness. Remember, diesel fuel costs a lot of money, and wasting fuel going nowhere isn't going to go unnoticed by dispatchers and fleet managers. Idling diesel motors keep the truck and trucker going, even when the truck itself isn't rolling down the road.
For those who don't know about the inner workings of a diesel motor, there are a few details that will help you understand what's going on mechanically. The main discussion points are:
Stronger by design - Diesel motors produce more power or torque than gasoline motors and they do it at a lower RPM speed. Everything about a diesel motor's engineering and construction is focused on durability and strength.
Exhaust differences - Both diesel and gasoline motors put out carbon and other contaminants into the air, with diesel engines producing about the same amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). New Diesel Exhaust Fluid filter technology has significantly reduced the amount of noxious Nitrogen Oxide (NO) introduced into the environment.
Diesel fuel versus Gasoline - The density of diesel fuel is different from gasoline and it takes a greater amount of compression to get diesel fuel to fire. Gasoline is a lighter, thinner compound that ignites at a lower temperature. This allows diesel motors to create more torque at a lower RPM than gasoline motors.
Old tech + New tech - The Diesel motor was invented by Otto Diesel in 1897. Since then, many improvements have increased operating efficiencies while reducing maintenance costs and extending engine life. Diesel motors outlast gasoline motors in terms of engine life and durability.
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