Gasoline Versus Diesel, The Last Round...

... In twenty to thirty years, fossil-fueled cars we all know today might become history. I guess everyone knows by now that both usage and pricing of gasoline all over the world varies because of a huge number of factors, including the availability of current oil reserves. The most important one is obviously the price of crude oil, but that alone doesn't explain why there are such big differences at the pump between various countries. For example, a liter of gasoline at the pump in Venezuela is about $0.05, while in Northern European countries like Netherlands or Norway, it is approximately $2. That's quite a big difference.

The main difference in prices paid by fuel consumers all over the world consists of a number of variables like local taxation, strength of local currency, costs of fuel processing and distribution and last, but not least, local demand for specific fuels (diesel or gasoline).

This is also why the price of gasoline can fluctuate so much in certain countries. For example, in the United States - the largest consumer of gasoline in the world - the average gasoline price was at a maximum of two dollars per gallon until the mid-2000s, after which it began to gradually rise to over double that amount in 2008. A couple of years later, it is in the $2.60-2.70 per gallon range.

Even so, as much as the US price for a gallon of gasoline may have varied over the years, it still doesn't compare to the price paid by most Europeans. That is because most European countries have ginormously high fuel taxes and close to nothing fuel subsidies, so fuel prices have been almost four times higher than in the US during the course of recent history.

OK, we've established the fact that gasoline is cheaper in the US and in countries which not only impose low taxes on fuel, but also subsidize it. What about the types of fuel and their usage? Why is it that diesel fuel is so much more used in Europe versus the United States, and the world for a matter of fact?

Well, there are a number of reasons, actually. First of all, except for Great Britain, diesel fuel is less expensive than gasoline in Europe. Sure, the current trend is to increase diesel prices but it's still cheaper nonetheless. In the US it is the exact opposite, for some reason.

Second of all, as you all probably know by now, diesel cars use much less fuel than their gasoline counterparts. This little fact has led to manufacturers that are present in Europe to base at least half of their engines offensive on diesel tech. And it worked.

Third of all, until the mid-2000s, most of the diesel fuel found at the pumps in Europe was practically "drenched" in sulfur. Some American states, like California, have been banning virtually all types of diesel except ULSD (Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel) for quite a number of years now. In other words, the only diesel vehicles present in the last couple of decades in the States were trucks and left-over Mercedes' from the late 1970s and 1980s, which were massively converted to biodiesel anyway.

The main subject of this whole diatribe is of course the battle between these two types of fuel, which will intensify in the following years, at least until the oil reserves run out and electric cars conquer virtually every household.

Considering that emission standards have pushed car manufacturers to offer cleaner and cleaner vehicles, no matter if they run on diesel or gasoline, who do you think will be the last type of fossil fuel to remain standing until electricity makes its check-mate move? Given the recent trends in automotive emission control technology and types of taxation and/or subsidies around the world, there can be only one winner... only to be beaten senseless by AC power.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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