Ford Diesels To Counter Rivals’ Big Hybrids

General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan are adding either V-6 or V-8 diesels to their pickup and SUV lines—while GM and Chrysler will continue to roll out its two-mode hybrids (although the production numbers are low). With Chrysler’s recent product-sharing plans announced with Nissan, that could mean the technology might flow to Nissan as well.

As rising gas prices and new fuel efficiency laws go into effect, carmakers will be weighing the relative advantages of diesels and hybrids—especially in the truck and full-size SUV segments. While not as efficient or clean as hybrids, diesels produce more towing power and are a less complex—which means less cost to manufacturers and consumers.


  • Skeptic

    Urea injection? Won’t that give them gout?

  • Need2Change

    Adding 20 percent to mileage using a diesel engine that costs more to buy and uses a fuel that is almost 20 percent more expensive than gas—seems to me to be a waste of time.

  • Paul Rivers

    “Adding 20 percent to mileage using a diesel engine that costs more to buy and uses a fuel that is almost 20 percent more expensive than gas—seems to me to be a waste of time.”

    Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. It’s completely a marketing move “Better fuel economy is better! Obviously!” Sadly, if you’re changing the fuel, that’s not the case. Let’s look at the expected benefits of better fuel economy:
    1. Cheaper – less gas costs less
    2. Emissions – less emissions because less gas is being burned
    3. Longer driving range between fillups

    Sadly, with diesel, only #3 comes true (at least as far as I understand how these things work):
    1. The engine costs more AND each gallon of fuel costs more (the last time I check, here in Minnesota, USA diesel was $1/gallon more than gas).
    2. Even modern “clean” diesel engines pollute more than the cleanest of their gasoline counterparts – that’s why it’s “50 state emissions”, not “52 state emissions”.
    3. If they keep the tank size the same, then I guess this would hold true.

    So (like the previous poster said) – why would I spend more money for a diesel engine which:
    1. Costs the same or more per mile to run, and
    2. Emits just as much or more pollution than a gasoline engine?

  • VaPrius

    Diesels are only a short-term fix and we will have to put up with the noise, smell a pollution for some time. The only true long term solutions are HEV, PHEV, EV, and dare I say it, hydrogen.

  • Dom

    You guys aren’t very well informed.
    - First, diesel fuel doesn’t follow the same price pattern as gasoline. Sure it costs more at the present, but ya gotta look at the big picture.
    - Second, the only emission area that diesels do worse on is NoX. All other emissions are substantially less than a comparible gasoline engine (and that’s not counting the fact that the diesel engine will go farther on a gallon than the gasoline engine)
    - Also, one of the best reasons for a diesel engine is that they are both more efficient and more powerful (torque) than a similar sized gasoline engine. Putting a diesel in a truck is a great idea, as you can:
    1. Use a smaller engine to maintain the tow and haul ratings and get much better fuel economy, OR
    2. Use a larger engine to maintain fuel economy but dramatically increase towing and hauling capabilities.
    3. Towing with a diesel engine doesn’t ruin fuel economy the same way it does with a gasoline engine, as the engine is much better suited to pulling things as most of its torque (pulling power) is available at a very low engine rpm, whereas a gasoline engine has to rev much higher to achieve it’s maximum torque.

  • Paul Rivers

    “First, diesel fuel doesn’t follow the same price pattern as gasoline. Sure it costs more at the present, but ya gotta look at the big picture.”

    Every time I go to the gas station diesel costs more than gas. Please explain the “big picture”, because at the moment the big picture is that diesel costs more than gas.

    “Second, the only emission area that diesels do worse on is NoX. All other emissions are substantially less than a comparible gasoline engine (and that’s not counting the fact that the diesel engine will go farther on a gallon than the gasoline engine)”

    I don’t know that that’s true, but the one thing I do know that’s true is that diesel engines give off particulates which gas engines don’t (at all). Particulates (from wikipedia):
    “Increased levels of fine particles in the air are linked to health hazards such as heart disease, altered lung function and lung cancer.”

    Since particulate filters are never 100% effective, diesel engines are always giving off one source of pollution that gasoline engines don’t even give off.

  • Rex_Snow

    Electric drive is the best for torque, with steam power being the second best. There is no argument to that statement that is valid, because there is no argument to that statement that is true. A good potential investment by the auto companies is to develop hybrid diesel technology in large trucks. Electric drive gives a vehicle maximum torque off the line, and if it is still a hybrid, then you get the benefits from hybrid-electric drive that we’re all so aware of. The 20th century model for the auto industry has finally been invalidated through the end of the age of cheap oil. We still have enough large vehicles in our fleet to purchase used trucks instead of new ones, and considering the current economics of driving, there is no incentive, other than what the car dealers offer of course, to buy a large vehicle. There is no benefit to diesel not present in hybrids. And even with lower up-front costs to diesel purchasers compared to hybrids, that savings is not retained at end-of-life. Economically speaking, a person would naturally prefer a hybrid to a diesel. Environmentally speaking, a person would prefer a hybrid to a diesel. And technologically speaking, a person would prefer a hybrid to a diesel. But to make the point clear, I mean a gas-electric hybrid. If the auto companies can make a diesel hybrid, then that will be a clear winner. We are in a new age for cars: We want our vehicles as efficient and technologically advanced as possible, not just more powerful, bigger, and with more gadgets. We got all of that in the 90′s.

  • Dom

    Groan… more misinformation.

    Ok, first let me explain the “big picture” on diesel fuel prices, at least historically (it may change of course).
    Usually in winter, diesel prices rise due to the increased use of heating oils, which are pretty much the same thing. Then in summer, the “summer driving season” drives up the price of gasoline, pushing it past diesel. The last few years diesel was cheaper than the cheapest gasoline for most of the summer.

    Second, I’ve followed hybrids for years, and I used to want one until I discovered diesel cars. Hybrids usually have the advantage in the city, diesel on the highway. The price premium is cheaper for a diesel engine vs. hybrid drivetrain, and the new diesels coming out are 50-state legal, emissions-wise. Gasoline engines emit particles too, their just way smaller. You think gasoline emissions aren’t harmful?? Trying sitting in your car and redirecting the tailpipe into it with the windows up. Gasoline car emissions will kill you, diesel emissions won’t. The CO2 levels they emit aren’t fatal. Try googleing all this if you think I’m wrong.

    Finally, I think having choices is great for consumers, and both hybrids and diesels have strengths and weaknesses. I’ve tried to point this out. I’m not a hybrid-hater, but I get tired of the typical American ignorance when it comes to diesels. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of both, and that’s a very good thing.

  • BigMcLargeHuge

    I think smelling any exhaust fumes without fresh air for an extended period will shorten your life span.

    I agree a diesel-electric truck would probably kick ass. But diesel in any form is better for pickups than gasoline. Hybrid or otherwise.

    With any turbocharged vehicle (diesels especially), you are doing yourself a huge favor to have your air/fuel ratios tested, and then have someone reflash your ECU so that it runs leaner. Most every 7.3L Powerstroke is capable of 25 average MPG. People just need to have the knowledge to utilize their engine properly.

    Engine manufacturers usually run all engines rich from the factory, to ere on the side of safety against knock and ping. Every engine is different on microscopic scales, and since they don’t test them all, they load REALLY conservative AFR maps and let you deal with whatever you get.

    Anyway, perfect AFRs in a diesel consistently get 40-60% better mileage than equivalent gasoline engines.

    So what the manufacturers are trying to figure out is how do you create an ECU with some fuzzy logic to get perfect AFRs in a diesel. The potential for diesel is exceedingly good. It has just been misutilized until we had a fuel crisis.

    Each successive generation of diesel engines will be just as promising as successive generation of hybrids. When both gas and diesel hit $5.00/gal, we should all be glad to have options.

  • lindsey

    Our savor is coming and it is Algae. Oil from algae will not take up any farm land or cause food storage and in fact will help produce food. The best way to use the oil from algae is bio diesel so we need more diesels on the road. Also remember electric cars are oil burners with long extension cords.

    You can see some great videos on algae below
    http://peswiki.com/index.php/Videos:Algae_as_Fuel

  • Rex_Snow

    Electric cars are more coal burners than oil burners. The oil crisis in the late 70′s changed that, in case you were unaware. They’re also natural gas burners, wind users, solar vehicles, and geothermal users. The grid’s power is generated from diverse sources, but you’ve got it right that they are still cars with long extension cords and long tailpipes. So nice point, I guess.

  • BigMcLargeHuge

    Yeah, how much carbon has to be burned to run a plug-in hybrid far exceeds that of a bio-diesel or diesel-hybrid. Coal is way less energetic than gasoline or diesel, so you have to burn more to make the same amount of energy. And thats before you even calculate the loss of transmitting it hundreds of kilometers via high-tension wires.

    It might be cheaper now, but it is guaranteed to raise the price of electricity. That’s just what we need *eyeroll*. This next decade is going to be rough if we continuously have high oil, food, AND electricity prices. More people will not be able to make ends meet.

  • Paul Rivers

    “Yeah, how much carbon has to be burned to run a plug-in hybrid far exceeds that of a bio-diesel or diesel-hybrid. Coal is way less energetic than gasoline or diesel, so you have to burn more to make the same amount of energy. And thats before you even calculate the loss of transmitting it hundreds of kilometers via high-tension wires.”

    Is there an actual source for this? Because I’ve been told (though find just as unbelievable as your statement) that a coal power plant is much more efficient than burning gasoline. I’ve also read that if you get all your electric power from coal, an electric car would be about the same as a gas one.

  • Anonymous

    the next generation of plug in hybrids will hopefully be powered by 16 new nuclear power plants, the key word to the solution is that all convenional fuels are BURNT creating more CARBON more air and water pollution and adding to global warming!!!!!

  • khooper

    I find this FORD a very nice vehicle, it has nice look, isn’t that big, but isn’t that small either, just the correct size, and it looks a lot better on the inside and outside now. More news at The Auto Buzz