Once upon a time, and with good cause, diesel engines had a bad reputation. A really bad reputation. Imagine combining Brad Marchand, Benedict Arnold, and Lindsay Lohan, and then having them emit the type of black smoke synonymous with tire-fires (all while Joan Jett’s ‘Bad Reputation’ played). Then came the “clean diesel” technology, and it appeared like the tide was turning — until a certain someone fibbed about their emissions, giving diesel a smokey-black eye yet again. Luckily for the automotive industry, Ford is here to save the day with a clean and fuel-efficient diesel engine: the Power Stroke. After all, fuel efficiency, not clean driving, has been one of the main motivating factors for driving diesel vehicles. Ford combining the two is icing on the cake. Read on as we break down how Ford’s fuel-efficient diesel engine works to provide better fuel economy.
Without getting too scientific, the chemical makeup of diesel fuel is 15% more energy dense than gasoline. Notice that I said energy dense — I’ve been called dense plenty but that’s a different story entirely. Diesel, on the molecular level, is made up of a greater amount of long-chain hydrocarbons. This means it’s got more energy per ounce than that lousy gasoline junk you’ve been putting in your tank. Better yet, think of it like drinking beer compared to drinking wine. You can drink a 16 ounce beer -in this case gasoline- but you won’t feel the effect as much as if you drank 15 ounces of wine -in this case diesel- because wine has a higher percentage of alcohol-by-volume. And they called me dense (*continues to drink his whisky*)!
Of course, diesel isn’t just more potent fuel. While regular engines typically have a compression ratio of 12-to-1 or less, diesel engines start at 12-to-1 and just go up from there — higher compression is a necessity for the diesel-combustion process. This is also why diesel engines don’t need a spark plug; the air in the cylinders is already hot due to being harshly squeezed in, and the second the fuel hits the combustion chamber -boom!- if it weren’t occuring in a segregated area, your eyebrows would be gone just like that time you used a whole jug of lighter fluid to get the campfire started. Now, it probably makes a bit more sense why diesel engines cost more and last longer — the parts used need to hold up to more abuse. That higher compression ratio also means you’re getting more bang for your buck, hence the more fuel-efficient diesel engine.
Of course, another advantage of the more fuel-efficient diesel engine, not only for fuel efficiency but for towing, is the fuel’s ability to produce low-end torque. That high compression ratio mentioned earlier in addition to the longer stroke length of the crankshaft in a diesel engine, means the engine simply produces more torque. This means instantaneous towing power. It also means the diesel engine gets you moving quicker, so unless you’ve got one of them, fancy lead-feet, you’ll actually be using less fuel to get where you’re going.
Not only are diesel engines cleaner than ever and better for towing, they are also more fuel-efficient as well. If you think driving a fuel-efficient diesel is something you’d be interested in, then swing by Team Ford and learn more about how you can save on fuel (not to mention tow like an absolute champ).