Diesel cars: Is it time to switch to a cleaner fuel?

Our transport is heavily oil-based. What are the alternatives?

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3rdRock

Diesel cars: Is it time to switch to a cleaner fuel?

Post by 3rdRock »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33254803
In the 1920s, pregnant women were encouraged to drink Guinness to increase their iron intake.

For decades we were all told to avoid fatty butter and eat synthetic margarine. Both pieces of so-called health advice have since been totally debunked.

We are now learning that millions of motorists who've bought diesel cars believing they were less harmful to the environment have been equally misguided.

Diesel cars emit less carbon dioxide (CO2) than their petrol equivalent, we were told. In fact, not only do they emit more CO2 on average, but they also produce large quantities of other pollutants linked with thousands of premature deaths.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Based on my real world experience modern diesels emit less CO2 than petrol for the same power generation. Particulates and nitrogen oxides are more of a problem but modern diesels emit far less than the old smokers that used to choke our streets. As always, a million clean diesels are worse than a 1000 rust buckets, of course.

And of course a big diesel emits more than a small petrol engine, and no vehicle matches official emission figures in practice. My car is rated at 83mpg, it averages 70mpg with me driving or 65 with other half driving.

My next car will be electric, or at least PEHV.

For now, I am sticking to my electric assist bike, and I am getting my flevotrike restored . (see avatar).
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Post by clv101 »

I recently changed from an 11 year old EU4 diesel to a EU6 diesel. New car is larger, heavier, more powerful, yet uses about the same fuel (CO2) and ~97% less NOx.
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Post by emordnilap »

If you must have a car, the choice between petrol or diesel is mostly irrelevant; the fine particulates from diesel are the biggest reason to avoid them; the fuel consumption of petrol vehicles is a big reason to avoid them. :lol:

Having said that, using a diesel for longer journeys and a bike for anything up to 10 miles is a great compromise. The key is to get the smallest and most efficient diesel vehicle you can.

We swapped a 1.2 litre petrol for a 1.2 diesel, same model. Petrol: around 500+ kilometres per tank. Diesel: regularly over 1,000 kilometres per tank.
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Post by Tarrel »

I imagine the particulates are more of a problem in cities than in rural areas. I'd say electric/PHEV for urban living and diesel for more remote communities. Although the ideal in cities would be public transport or bike, supplemented by hiring electric when needed.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-33594585

Price of diesel falls below that of petrol for the first time in a decade.

This is indicative of 2 things

1. Saudi Arabia has expanded its own oil refinery throughput, and as their internal demand is mostly petrol, the excess diesel is being exported onto the European market.

2. In general, decline in diesel demand is more associated with declining economic activity, as diesel is primarily used for heavy transport and machinery. Petrol demand is more reflective of consumer demand, so we are seeing the early signs of the next consumer debt financial bubble.
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Post by AutomaticEarth »

A report from the RAC saying diesel pumps could run dry....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34262990
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Post by emordnilap »

PS_RalphW wrote:Petrol demand is more reflective of consumer demand, so we are seeing the early signs of the next consumer debt financial bubble.
That's an interesting one. Can you expand, please?
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Most petrol sold in the UK is used in cars for personal transport. Diesel used to be primarily used for road haulage, trains, industrial and agricultural equipment, etc. Diesel for personal transport has nearly caught up with petrol , but overall personal transport is smaller part of the market for diesel.

The relative prices of the two products in the UK are set primarily by relative tax rates, but in the shorter term by supply and demand. Global weak demand for oil, and diesel in particular has driven prices down more than for petrol. Supply of diesel relative to petrol is a function of the grade of oil, the design of oil refineries, and only to a small extent the relative demand for the end products.

My impression is that consumption of petrol overall is up in the UK - I haven't got precise numbers - but I am extrapolating from low prices, booming car sales, especially luxury car sales, and rising disposable income for a minority of the workforce. and the seemingly never ending low interest rates.

We are in the Alice in Wonderland phase of the economic cycle in the UK, although it does not seem likely from a Powerswitch perspective. China is about to implode, Sterling is riding high and exports are topping out, Shale oil is bust to the tune of hundreds of billions in the US (as is N Sea oil and Canadian tar sands and Australian coal and Venezuela heavy oil etc. ) and Europe is as we speak shutting the gates to the tide of migrants fleeing the eroding cliffs of our island of economic prosperity. Cameron is
implementing the austerity packages the lib dems vetoed last time, and they are going to kill stone dead any last dregs of economic growth here.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9888#comment-951561
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

AutomaticEarth wrote:A report from the RAC saying diesel pumps could run dry....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34262990
They just don't get the fact that vehicle numbers are not going to continue increasing until 2030 and that the supply of all fuel will be a problem in the future, not just diesel. They are still living in the cloud cuckoo land of continuous economic growth.

Edted - ken - added a "not"
Last edited by kenneal - lagger on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Ralph, I don't think that eroding cliffs diagram is right. Most of the rich's, the Kleptocracy's, wealth is in bits of paper that will collapse in value as the system collapses. Their only real wealth is in the physical things that they own and much of that depends on the continuation of a high tech industry to support it. Their property and their cash are the only things that will be of use and that is only safe if you can keep it safe. Property will be valueless in cash terms because once electronic cash transfer dies out there won't be enough physical money to support property transactions. Property will be worth its value as a roof over one's head and what it can provide in the form of food and energy. And then that will depend on how much labour you can muster to work that land. Also you can't eat luxury things and the people with lots of food aren't going to want much in that line.

I will be using the surplus food that I have to buy loyalty and services. Here's hoping that I can find a blacksmith to go with the wood and metal working skills that I and a few friends have.
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Ken,

I was thinking shorter term, collapse will be more geographic, with some nations or global regions lasting longer than others. The kleptocracy are highly mobile and will be welcomed in any remaining island fortress as long as they have any markets or goods to sell left.

My employer is having its own mini collapse at the moment, our major supplier has gone broke and our product supply has dried up in our peak sales season, and our current office is being demolished in 3 weeks and today we were told that our new office will have no internet/phone installed in time to move in. (and probably no loos).

As I am on now on a one month rolling zero hours contract I am not crying too many tears.

Also we were going to outsource dispatch, and now we are going to have to move a warehouse full of stock up a narrow flight of stairs and dispense it from the CEO's office, which will also be my residual server room.

I'm only still here because the design of our cloud based replacement products are so far behind schedule.

Fun !
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

I still think the Kleptocracy's weakness is the paper and electronic status of much of their wealth. Although it is readily transferable it can also disappear in a puff of smoke in an instant.

Good luck with the job, by the way!
Action is the antidote to despair - Joan Baez
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Post by AutomaticEarth »

Volkswagen could be fined $18bn due to frigging EPA test results for diesel cars:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/busin ... 11670.html

It will be interesting to see if there are repercussions over here....
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Post by PS_RalphW »

The affected cars use the Urea injection method to cut Nitrogen oxides by improving the catalysis. They pumped in more urea when the car is being tested, and throttled back for ordinary driving, to avoid using up the small reserve bottle too quickly.

Why not fit a bigger bottle and sell the stuff at filling stations? Urea is piss cheap.

:roll:
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