The Diesel engine was created by Rudolf Diesel in response to the fuel inefficiency of gasoline engines. At its core, the way a Diesel engine operates is nearly identical to the machinations of the gasoline engine – the primary purpose is to use internal combustion to convert the chemical energy of fuel into mechanical energy that can drive the movement of the pistons whose up and down movements drive the crankshaft and create the rotating motion required to move the car forward.
Most motor vehicles contain a four stroke diesel engine: first, the intake valves open allowing air into the cylinder and forcing the initial downward motion of the pistons; second, the pistons move back up and compress the air; third, as the piston reaches the top, the fuel is injected and the air, having been heated by the act of compression, ignites the fuel and the combustion forces the piston back down; fourth, the piston moves back to the top, pushing out the exhaust created from the combustion as opposed to a gasoline engine that uses a spark from a sparkplug to ignite the fuel air mixture.
Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts, resulting in lower fuel consumption; a common margin is 40% more miles per gallon for an efficient turbo diesel. Diesel engines also produce very little carbon monoxide as they burn the fuel in excess air even at full load.
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