Petrol-Powered Trucks and their Counterparts

Joe Mietus, Staff Writer

Have you ever seen a big truck going down the road and wondered how much it pollutes our air? Many people don’t know that diesel engines are cleaner than gasoline engines. However, everything is not always as it seems and gasoline engines produce more carbon dioxide but it is invisible.

There is a common misconception that surrounds diesel engines and their ‘dirty appearance’. Everyone has seen that big diesel truck on the road that pushes out black smoke leaving behind a cloud. However, this does not mean that they are worse for the environment than a gasoline engine. When looking at the statistics, diesel engines actually emit less carbon dioxide than gasoline ones. Especially when comparing them to new diesel engines which have become much cleaner over the years. Another reason they are looked down upon is because of Volkswagen’s scandal referred to as “Dieselgate” which exposed them for installing software designed to cheat emissions testing. This made VW stop the production of their TDI engine and scared people away from diesel in general.

Photo via Pixabay under Pixabay License Different vehicles use different types of gas, which naturally all have pros and cons. Diesel is just one of the many options.

Although many manufacturers have stopped selling diesel vehicles in the U.S., there are still plenty of trucks being made that require diesel engines in order to keep this country running. Diesel engines are required in medium and heavy duty vehicles since they are more cost efficient, as fuel costs are 30% lower along with an increased reliability, making them last almost double the miles compared to gasoline counterparts. This could be due to the fact that diesel engines in general are stronger and produce more torque which is why they are used for doing lots of hard work and running for many miles.

Just last year, the California Air Resources proposed and approved a plan to ban the sale of new diesel and gasoline engines in the use of medium and heavy duty vehicles forcing companies to switch to zero emissions. This ban will be put into effect in 2040, which gives people time to prepare. However, currently there is only one option for companies to take which is electric.

Electric trucks are looked down upon since they create new problems for truckers and the companies. The first worry is the price of these vehicles. They cost more to buy up front and since electric vehicles are relatively new, the cost of maintenance is much higher. This affects small companies the most since they will be spending more money overall. 

Another problem that electric trucks have is their limited range. Currently, there are no electric trucks that have a range of over 500 miles. When compared to a diesel truck that can run over 1000 miles before filling up, the electric counterpart doesn’t seem practical. It also takes a diesel truck under 20 minutes to fill up, while the electric truck would take a few hours to recharge. This slows down construction and delivery significantly and it could possibly affect the economy.

I’m not saying that electric engines and trucks are necessarily harmful overall, but it may be too early to say that we should replace all gas and diesel trucks with electric counterparts. This change also affects our economy and our lives since it has an effect on the transportation of building materials, food, and many goods. Only time will tell how far the technology will come and how much cheaper it will be.