With rising gas prices and growing concerns about the environment, everyone wants a car with high mileage that produces little pollution. While gas-electric hybrids are getting most of the buzz, there’s another car that you should consider. Today’s diesel can meet both of your green requirements – both more green in the bank and more green for the environment.
Today’s diesel cars burn a different type of diesel fuel than was used in the past – one that produces fewer sulfur emissions. We’ve finally reached the days of clean burning diesel. Second, diesel engines have been re-engineered to overcome one of their biggest problems – a slow start. Still, when you start driving a diesel car, you’ll need to adjust your habits somewhat. Here’s what you need to know about driving a diesel car.
Forget jackrabbit starts. Not only are they a bad idea in any car, but they just aren’t possible in a diesel. You’ll hit the red line too quickly in first and second gear if you try to start off too fast. Remember that these lower gears have a lot of torque and avoid that red line. Your driving style will eventually adjust if you give it a chance.
Obviously, you’ll want to avoid speeding if you’re looking for maximum fuel efficiency. Even driving 10% over the speed limit can burn extra fuel, which costs you more money. Also, choose routes with fewer stops and starts when you can. It’s the lower “getting up to speed” speeds that use more fuel than just maintaining a safe speed. Get into a higher gear as quickly as you can, but not by redlining in the lower gears.
You also want to make sure to down shift when needed in a diesel car. Never force your engine to maintain a low speed in a higher gear. Not only will you waste fuel if you do that, but you can also damage your engine. Driving more slowly than you’re used to is a small price to pay when you consider the additional repair bills you could find yourself facing.
Similarly, don’t down shift to stop your car. Instead, let yourself coast when you can. When stopping, depress your clutch, putting the car in neutral, and using your brake. It may not seem like a big difference, but down shifting will put additional wear on your transmission, which is much more expensive to replace than brake pads.
Finally, to get maximum mileage from your diesel car, use your cruise control whenever possible. Computer-aided cruise control does a much better job of maintaining the correct speed than any human can. Not only will you save money on fuel costs, but you’ll also avoid nasty speeding tickets that can seriously increase your cost of driving.
Driving a diesel car can be a wonderful choice, both for saving money and for saving the environment. Take a little time to adjust to the quirks of your new diesel car, and you’ll soon be enjoying both your gas savings and your new ride.