Why is diesel cleaner burning than gasoline?

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    This is my fourth attempt at writing an answer to this question… which indeed is a toughie, and that must be why no one has tried to tackle it in the week since it’s been posted!… the first two attempts I made were under-informed, and I could not bear to settle for an answer which was impartial or just flat out incorrect, and the last bit I had written was just eliminated at my program experienced an unexpected error and shut me down! So I’ll start over: First of all the distinction between Traditional Diesel and Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) must be made. They now make Diesel fuel which has much of the sulfur removed prior to it getting to the pumps. Traditionally Diesel has always been considered ANYTHING BUT a clean fuel, because when a diesel engine accelerates from a low rpm (or idle) up to a higher rpm the fuel is not always burned up completely in the piston chamber, and so you get a lot of “unburned hydrocarbons and soot in a diesel engine’s exhaust” (read the guy’s article if you want to know what the difference is between Compression Ignition [Diesel Engines] and Sparked Ignition [gasoline powered, 4 stroke combustion engines that run the “Otto Cycle”— see the 1st link)… But now they have found ways to eliminate that problem by more accurately controlling the amount of diesel that is spayed into the chamber where the hot compressed air lies in wait TO EXPLODE the fuel! They also have developed better “emissions control system, which [add] a self-cleaning filter to trap and burn off nitrous oxides.” (that quote comes from the VW page FAQ—-http://tdi.vw.com/frequently-asked-clean-diesel-questions/) The last reason why (these new modern) diesel engines can be cleaner to the environment is that diesel engines have a characteristic (much higher compression ratios [see article 1] {or any good car book if you are in the dark on this one}) that makes it so they yield “more power per unit diesel fuel, meaning higher efficiency.” So they pack more punch for the same weight in fuel. So—since technology has made the initial diesel fuel more pure (less stuff that doesn’t need to be heated, exploded, and then released into the environment), they can better control how much fuel enters the chamber so the engine doesn’t end up spewing out unburnt fuel (thanks computers, sensors; really, scientists, engineers), and they have also found ways to trap the bad stuff (like those nasty hydrocarbons, GG’s and soot) before it escapes the exhaust pipe—that is why diesel (at least ULSD being fed to a modern engine with a good onboard computer and emission control system) is cleaner burning than gasoline (or at least a whole heck of a lot cleaner than it used to be—I don’t want to piss of any 87-Octane-junkies out there [wink,wink]). Phhewww! – I’m glad that’s over!

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