Petrol or Diesel Engine – What’s the Difference?

From an originally fairly small beginning, the ‘ordinary car’ diesel engine is becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

Yet we still get asked occasionally what the difference is between the petrol and diesel engine?

Sadly, in a brief blog of this nature, we really don’t have the space to go into an engineering discussion – so we are pulling out here a few of the key points as they occurred to us.

  1. At one time, diesel engines tended to be associated with buses and heavy trucks plus some of the braver car makers. They were heavy, noisy and subject to sluggish acceleration.
  1. That changed through developments in Europe and Japan during the 1980s and 1990s. Today’s diesel engines have performance that is often comparable to petrol engines and in terms of fuel consumption, may actually be better. They are now widely found even in luxury limousines in Sydney.
  2. In engineering terms, the typical car diesel engine is actually simpler than the equivalent petrol engine. In theory, that makes it less likely to suffer breakdowns etc.
  1. From an environmental viewpoint, the debates between the two can be controversial and occasionally vitriolic. Many experts here would argue that the diesel engine is rather more polluting to the environment than the petrol engine.
  1. As touched on above, diesels once had an unenviable reputation of being noisy when used in a conventional motor vehicle. Long after the other problems with the engine in terms of everyday car use were solved, noise continued to be an issue but most people would argue that today it has been entirely resolved and diesel engines are as quiet as their petrol-driven cousins.

When all is said and done, if you are buying a vehicle and are faced with the choice of diesel verses petrol, a number of factors may need to be taken into account including the respective price of fuel at the time you’re making your decision.

Our position is to stay positively neutral on the subject!