If you are looking for the ideal bug out vehicle, you really need to consider much more than just the vehicle brand, whether or not it’s a 4×4, and other common considerations. One thing that most people tend to overlook is the type of fuel the vehicle uses. In other words, should you go with a bug out vehicle with a gasoline engine or one that uses diesel? Diesel powered vehicles have quite a few advantages over their gasoline powered brethren. It is these advantages that make them ideally suited for bug out vehicles. Let’s take a look at these advantages.
First, it’s important to realize that diesel fuel will keep for a longer period of time than gasoline. If stored properly in a clean, cool, and dry location, it will stay fresh for up to a year without the use of fuel stabilizers. Diesel fuel may be stored for as long as five years if proper fuel stabilizers are used such as Diesel STA-BIL and STA-BIL Biocide. Gasoline, on the other hand, will only stay fresh for a few months when stored in a gas can. Of course, the life of the gas can be prolonged with the use of fuel stabilizers. The longer gasoline is exposed to air and higher temperatures, the shorter its shelf life will be. That’s the reason why so many people have to put fresh gasoline in their lawnmowers after being stored for the winter.
Another advantage to consider is the fact that diesel engines deliver up to 40% better fuel economy than their gasoline powered counterparts. And better fuel economy means you can go much further on your fuel reserves. Diesel engines are also considered to be much more reliable than gasoline engines. This is one of the reasons why most large trucks are powered by diesel engines. It is not uncommon for a diesel-powered rig to accumulate over 300,000 miles before needing an engine overhaul. And not only that, but there are many trucks that have had their diesel engines overhauled several times and have accumulated over 1,000,000 miles on their odometers!
Diesel engines produce more torque (or pulling power) than gasoline engines. This is another major advantage they have over gasoline powered vehicles and is also one of the main reasons why heavy equipment and trucks use diesel engines. It’s all about the power.
One of the primary reasons why diesel engines are more reliable is that they have fewer parts overall than gasoline engines. They are much simpler engines. Diesel engines, for example, don’t have ignition systems. They have simple glow plugs that heat the diesel fuel to burn it instead of the complex spark/ignition systems that gasoline engines use that utilize carefully-timed sparks to ignite the fuel each time it enters a fuel chamber. The simple design also allows diesel engines to run much cooler than gasoline engines. It is the simple design of the diesel engine that makes it so reliable.
If a major catastrophe happens, gasoline will most likely sell out much more quickly than diesel fuel. This is because the vast majority of vehicles sold in the United States are powered by gasoline due to the stringent EPA exhaust requirements. Diesel passenger vehicles make up approximately 2.88 percent of all vehicles in the United States. In a major national or world emergency, everyone will be racing to fill up on gasoline, and not necessarily diesel, leaving plenty for those with diesel engines.
Diesel fuel is much safer to store than gasoline. One of the reasons for this is the fact that diesel fuel does not emit vapors like gasoline does. Also, keep in mind that diesel fuel does not explode like gasoline does. Diesel fuel burns. If a spark lands on some diesel fuel, it isn’t going to explode. It still might ignite and start burning, but that’s a preferable alternative to a large explosion, which is what could happen if a spark landed in a container of gasoline.
Diesel engines also allow for the use of a broad range of fuels, not just the diesel fuel you buy at your local gas station. Diesel engines can run on different blends of bio-diesel, home heating oil, kerosene, jet fuel, unused vegetable oil, used vegetable oil, motor oil, automatic transmission fluid and hydraulic oil. Many people who own diesel-powered vehicles make arrangements with local restaurants to collect their waste vegetable oil and make bio-diesel out of it for pennies on the dollar. And still others power their vehicles with straight vegetable oil, after carefully filtering it. Yes, it does require some of your spare time to make bio-diesel, but you can literally save many thousands of dollars in fuel costs over the life of your vehicle.
It’s important to realize that diesel engines do have some negative aspects that you should consider. First, diesel engines are more difficult to work on and parts may be more difficult to find than gasoline engine parts. Diesel engines are more difficult to work on because they rely on high-compression cylinders, whereas gasoline engines use cylinders with much lower compression ratios. Also, because so few engines in the United States are diesel-powered, replacement parts are not as plentiful and will be more difficult to come by.
Another negative aspect of diesel engines is that they can be noisier than gasoline engines. Not all of them, though. Some of the newer diesel engines are just as quiet as gasoline engines, but there are still plenty on the market that are louder.
Yet another negative thing about diesel engines to consider is that diesel fuel can be very messy. If you’ve ever gotten some diesel fuel on your hands, you surely know how difficult it is to remove. It is greasy, smelly, and requires multiple hand washing to finally feel free of the diesel funk. If you get some gasoline on your hands, in contrast, it quickly evaporates, leaving a gas smell that can be easily washed off with a couple of washings. Diesel fuel, however, is very thick (like syrup) and can be very difficult (if not impossible) to remove from clothing.
Although the diesel engine is not without its negatives, the positive aspects of the engines make it a strong contender for any bug out vehicle. It’s positive attributes are so strong, in fact, that many motorcycle owners are now switching out their gasoline bike engines for aftermarket diesels.
If you are in the market for a vehicle you plan to keep for bug out purposes, definitely consider one with a diesel engine. They are powerful, fuel efficient, and are very reliable. And you can even make your own bio-diesel fuel. What’s not to like about that?
About the Author: Alex Vanover is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and has spent the greater part of his life riding and writing about motorcycles and the auto industry. He is also the purveyor of Motorcycle Trading Post. An online classified ad listing site.
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