While diesel emits more toxic particles than gasoline, diesel is the more cost-efficient fuel. Overall, it consumes less fuel than gas, so diesel trucks can emit fewer greenhouses gases per mile driven. However, because of the pollutants diesel releases, its reputation in the automotive industry has plunged.
Still, diesel is the engine of choice among truckers. It’s cheaper, easier to maintain, and offers better fuel economy. But because of the growing environmental and health concerns related to air pollution, diesel is suffering more reputational damage. To be fair, it’s not the environmentalists’ fault. Bad driving practices make diesel a lot worse than it should be. But if diesel engines are well-maintained and truck drivers are conscious of their habits, diesel won’t be the villain anymore.
That said, here’s how truckers can make their diesel engines better for the environment:
1. Choose Newer Truck Models
If your company needs a new fleet, choose brand-new trucks instead of used ones. Brand-new diesel autos in the market are much more eco-friendly. Today’s diesel engines release fewer emissions than diesel engines a few years ago. This is certain because diesel manufacturers improve their emission technologies as shoppers demand more fuel efficiency and cleaner vehicles. You can now find models that can meet EPA’s emission standards.
2. Consider Biodiesel
Consider changing your fuel to biodiesel since conventional diesel still contains toxic pollutants. Biodiesel is produced from recycled vegetable oil, yellow grease, cooking oil, or animal fats. To make these oils run an engine, they go through a process called transesterification. It converts fats and oils into biodiesel and glycerin. Glycerin is another natural product, a sugar often used in making pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
As odd as that sounds, biodiesel and glycerin can fuel your trucks. And with fewer greenhouse emissions, at that. Moreover, biodiesel is renewable, so using it can help reduce your reliance on fossil fuels. In fact, biodiesel has already helped several countries cut their supplies of fuel from foreign oil reserves. That can heal the planet immeasurably.
However, biodiesel doesn’t react well to cold temperatures. Exposing it to a specific temperature may turn it into a gel. Thankfully, you can blend it with winterized diesel fuel to keep it ready to run.
Moreover, some biodiesel fuels can damage the rubber houses of an engine. So raise this potential issue as you look for a supplier.
3. Fix Bad Driving and Maintenance Practices
If bad practices are what cause your diesel engines to pollute the air, you don’t need any new products. What you need is to correct those practices. Idling and delaying preventative maintenance are two common causes of fuel inefficiency. So if your drivers need to make stops frequently, instruct them to switch off the engine. Just because diesel consumes less fuel doesn’t mean idling is harmless.
Stay on top of preventative maintenance as well. Skipping necessary oil changes allows gunk and grime to build up in the engine and tailpipes. That’s what causes soot to spew out of the exhaust. It’s a sign of excessive carbon. Neglecting this problem can subject your company to penalties by the EPA or your state government.
You may also need a better understanding of diesel engines. It will allow you to visualize how dirt buildup affects your fuel efficiency and truck performance. In turn, you’ll remember to maintain your trucks as they should be. You can study diesel engines closer using a high-quality model diesel engine kit. Modeling engines can simulate their operation and aid you in your research about fuels and their impact on the environment.
4. Monitor Fuel Consumption and Economy
Fuel consumption and fuel economy are frequently used interchangeably. But these two refer to two different things. Fuel consumption is the amount of fuel a vehicle consumes to reach a specific destination. Fuel economy refers to the distance a vehicle can cover with a predetermined amount of fuel.
Your trucks can consume less fuel if drivers stop idling, for example. Planning trips ahead will also help. Drivers can pick shorter routes to avoid running out of fuel along the way.
The engine itself can improve the fuel economy. If you have a new model, it’s more likely to optimize fuel economy. Maintaining a diesel engine well is also essential. Preventing issues like overheating and premature wear will allow your fleet to cover long distances with a given amount of diesel.
Making a diesel engine better for the planet all boils down to responsibility. If you know how to maintain trucks well, you shouldn’t encounter toxic emissions that are higher than usual. If using renewable diesel is an option, you’d also try that out. Simply put, there are many ways to make diesel a cleaner fuel, so you have no excuses to keep it dirty.