You may have noticed that while nearly all non-commercial, “regular” cars and trucks run on gasoline, big trucks need diesel fuel. Why is this? It is actually a common question that many people have wondered. Is diesel fuel better? The answer to this question is yes, in certain circumstances. Large trucks, like semis, are built to use diesel fuel for several reasons:
#1 The price difference. Diesel fuel is like syrup compared to watery gasoline, and so it packs more of a “punch” in terms of energy per unit of weight. Because of this, even though it often costs more than gasoline, it contains more potential energy, so less diesel fuel is required to accomplish the same amount of work. It isn’t uncommon to see diesel vehicles, even large ones, getting up to 50 MPG. This is great news since they travel such long distances!
#2 Big trucks need torque. Diesel fuel’s “punch” is actually called “torque.” Horsepower is a measure of power, while torque is a measure of an engine’s twisting force on the driveline. If you have a lot of horsepower with only a little torque, your vehicle is going to be slow to get up to a steady driving speed. It’s torque that gets things moving, which is why diesel engines are used in big trucks. Semis and large trucks are great for moving heavy loads because they have so much torque.
#3 Diesel engines last longer. There is a reason you don’t see companies buying a brand new semi truck as often as you buy yourself a new car. Because diesel engines use compression ignition, which can quickly ruin a gas engine, they’re built tough. They tend to be reliable and require little maintenance.
#4 They are cleaner than ever. Many people mistakenly associated diesel engines with pollution. Technology has caught up with consumer demand and now diesels run cleaner than ever before. All the black stuff coming out semi exhausts decades ago included a lot of soot, caused in part by the burning of sulfur. Most of the sulfur has now been removed from modern diesel fuel, and further filtration of diesel exhaust in some newer models has actually pushed them to the forefront of clean vehicles. This applies to semis, big rigs, cargo vans, and even pickups.
Semi trucks are quite interesting to learn about! Contact Triangle J Trucking today with any other trucking-related questions, or to hire us to deliver your load. We offer refrigerated truck driving services, flatbed services, brokerage services and more. Whatever your needs are, we can handle it!