How to Increase Fuel Economy in Diesel Engines

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Diesel engines, while commonly believed to be less environmentally friendly than those running on other fuels, are actually "more powerful and fuel-efficient than similar-sized gasoline engines" according to the Environmental Protection Agency's FuelEconomy.gov website. However, there are a number of recommendations that can further improve the efficiency of a diesel engine, helping save money and reduce environmental impact. While the same fuel-saving tips provided for gasoline engines can help improve diesel engine economy as well (see General Motors' fuel efficiency tips in the "Resources" section below), there are additional steps that are specific to diesel engines.

  • Maintain a constant speed as often as possible and use cruise control.

    Since diesel engines perform more efficiently at constant speeds, keeping engine RPM at a consistent rate can help greatly improve diesel fuel economy. Cruise control is the easiest way to maintain speeds on the highway, helping diesel engines to achieve higher mileage.

  • Use diesel additives.

    Diesel gasoline directly from the pump is often not in the most prime condition for smooth engine operation. Because there are multiple types of diesel engines, however, the same additive may not be best for all vehicles. Ask a trusted mechanic or auto expert which kinds of additives are most appropriate for your engine.

  • Learn to short shift.

    Diesel engines reach their peak torque level at lower RPMs than gasoline engines. Because of this, shifting before the RPM gauge needle reaches the red line can improve performance and fuel economy. This technique, known as short shifting, is invaluable especially for those who frequently drive diesel vehicles.

  • Regularly check the fuel filter.

    Contaminated diesel fuel doesn't burn as well, meaning more of it is needed when driving. Checking the fuel filter every two to three weeks and replacing it as needed will assure that diesel fuel is clean enough to assure better mileage.

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