A Dishonest Debate

Discussion in 'Science & Nature' started by Thomas Stearn, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    The whole issue dealt with in a neighboring thread reminds me of a discussion which has been going on over here for some time and which is indicative of how people look at certain things.

    You may have heard of "dieselgate". For decades there has been one, and one reason only, why people decided to buy a diesel car in my country and that was - economic(al). They knew they'd have to drive thousands of miles a year. For that they needed three things: a very heavy engine that allows them to use the fast lane, ideally highways without speed limit, and a car engine that is thought to be economical. Those people panicked at the thought of having to pay gas prices for the mileage to be covered each day. Driving a diesel car was the allegedly smart alternative. It was offered by the automotive industry. The fume issue was ignored. How often did (do) I have to line up behind a diesel knowing what was gonna happen as soon as the traffic lights changed. A black cloud of soot particles would cover my car. "Clean diesel".

    With roads and highways getting more and more congested, a second reason made people buy a diesel car, one that has a bigger and stronger car body which was said to raise the likelihood of surviving in those horrible crashes that frequently happen. So the driving forces behind buying a diesel car basically were threefold: saving money (lower diesel prices), engine power, and survival. All other factors (fumes) were ignored. In many different ways, sometimes subtly, sometimes more openly, men around me kept bragging about their diesel SUVs and the power of the engine, all underlining one statement: "There's war on our highways, as we all know, but it'll be me who is going to survive in it - both economically and physically - because I bought the right car."

    For decades I've never heard any other reason. But now, all of a sudden, as a reaction to dieselgate and driving bans in more and more city centers, diesel owners seem to have "forgotten" their real reasons for buying their car and argue instead that they had bought their diesel cars chiefly for one reason and that was - environmental. Now they say they'd feel cheated by the car industry and want full compensation. Why? Because they want to buy another diesel car. I'd call that hilarious to say the least.
    There is a changing attitude toward cars, though, among young urban folks whom I am in touch with. More and more of them don't have a car and think they will hardly ever buy one. Overcrowded cities, no space to park, and hopelessly congested streets are the main reasons. Public transport is more efficient. They sometimes use a car sharing offer, though, when they need to transport something from IKEA. For them, a car is not a status symbol any more but bikes are which they may spend between $1000 and $3000 on easily. That's what I'd call a very promising young generation.
     
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  2. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I had a diesel truck once and it was wonderful. It got 37 mpg, a great achievement in that day and time. I was heavy and had good traction for that reason, but when the weather got cold here, it often wouldn't start. It was wonderful vehicle when the weather was warm, but difficult when it cooled if there wasn't a plug-in to warm the engine. I own no diesel vehicles now, but I would get one if I had to pull heavy trailers for distance. The torque is useful, but cars these days get pretty good mileage using gasoline, and I don't have the starting difficulties. I realize that diesels are better at starting in cold weather now. One of my sons had a Cummins Ram pickup, and it was a dream to drive.
     
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    Since I have been out of the business, I haven't paid attention but when I was in EMS, there were very few gas-powered ambulances in use. In Los Fresnos, our older unit had a gasoline engine and we still had a gas-powered ambulance that we used as a back-up at ACT. The main reasons why ambulances were diesel, as far as I know were that the diesel ambulances were more reliable, less prone to overheating, and could idle for long periods of time more safely than the gas units, although price probably figured into it as well, since diesel used to be cheaper rather than more expensive than gasoline. The diesels may have been more reliable in cold weather too, but we rarely had cold weather so that wasn't a consideration in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
     
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  4. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I think everyone who buys a car does so for selfish reasons. Cars are bought with the heart, not the head.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I'm not sure what you mean by that. Are you suggesting that people don't need cars but that they buy them because they are selfish, or are you saying that people choose the cars they choose due to selfish reasons? Or something else? I'm not being argumentative; just don't know what you mean.

    Whenever we buy something, there is a sense of selfishness. If I am going to pay for something, it's reasonable for me to want to get something in return, whether it's a matter of practicality, comfort, prestige, or whatever it might be that I am looking for.
     
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  6. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    Many buy as a result of "brand loyalty", one of the more stupid and ridiculous reasons given for buying a certain make. The car-makers of course encourage such thinking, to keep them buying from them instead of another. General Motors buyers seem, in my experience, to be the most committed to loyalty. My friend Charlie's dad was no such fool. He bought a '58 Chevy new, had much trouble with it, much of it unresolved by the dealer; he then went and bought a Ford.

    @Thomas Stearn
    Today's diesel engine technology has gone the way of gasoline: electronic fuel injection, tight controls being placed on the internal combustion process, and diesels of both truck and automobile usage have become very noticeably cleaner-running. Rarely is any particulate (smoke) matter seen being belched by any of these babies!
    Frank
     
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  7. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I have "negative loyalty" toward GM vehicles. I have bought them new and used, trucks, minivans, full-sized vans, and all of them have been junk. I haven't had unusual trouble with any other make of vehicles, but I seem to have the least trouble with Ram (used to be Dodge) trucks. I had a Mazda that was made by Ford that I sold after 387,000 miles with no trouble not under warranty. I had two trucks at the time I sold it, and I chose to keep the Ram 1500 since it had fewer miles and I like the full sized bed. I had a wonderful full-sized Dodge van that I sold since it wouldn't easily fit into an airplane when I lived in the Alaska Bush.
     
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  8. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    You may be overthinking things, Ken. I only meant that a car is an emotional purchase and I buy what pleases me. I are not investing to save the environment.
     
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  9. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I do that sometimes. I agree. While I try to buy something that I can reasonably expect will last me a while and be somewhat practical, I also want to drive something that I would enjoy driving. I don't much like cars that look like every other car in the world. In fact, I have seen my favorite cars on lists of what other people claimed to be the ugliest cars.
     
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  10. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    ...but, above all, with dough. ;) Yeah, buying it with the heart is undoubtedly the ideal and seller's paradise but I admit that I never managed to buy a car with the heart. Money for cars was tight so that I always tried to get the best value for money. The heart was just an observer and finally okayed it.
     
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  11. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    I disagree. In the end, even when the price is the "ruling" factor, it is your heart, that "influences" your final choice.;)
     
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  12. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  13. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    I agree. I'm sure you know more about my heart's choices than I do.;)
     
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  14. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    Just to put the record straight, I know that the diesel has its place especially when it comes to heavy-duty transport as @Don Alaska pointed out. My focus was on people not on technology. The point I was trying to make was the U-turn diesel buyers made over what had affected their purchase intentions. Those influences had clearly not been environmental in the first place although they are using that argument in the current discussion and will do so in the forthcoming litigation with car makers like VW.
    As for the diesel engine, I'm aware of technical improvements but the diesel technology is and will remain shaky ground. Limit values have been changed (lowered) frequently so that buyers can never be sure how long they might have the latest technology which will permit them to drive into the city centers of larger towns. Porsche (a German car maker) has already made the decision not to produce any diesel engines for its cars any longer.
     
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  15. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Thomas Stearn
    The point which comes to mind is this: There are enormous numbers of diesel-powered heavy trucks plying the highways everywhere. Unlike automobiles, many run 24/7, or nearly so. Along with that fact, their engines are 3-5 times the size, even more, of automobile diesel engines, thus the trucks, from a standpoint of environmental consideration, produce overall many, many times as much pollution as do the cars. Has travel or use of the trucks been at all restricted? Considerable work is being done on electrically-powered heavy trucks. Great idea, except for a few things: trucks require enormous amounts of energy input compared to cars, and, the electrical energy produced to run them is simply done as a trade-off taking the source of pollution away from the individual polluters and placing it in some God-forsaken location as a belching and spewing Power Plant.
    Frank
     
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  16. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Very Well-Known Member
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    Seriously!! A lot of cars were sold in the US, due to GREEN diesel. There are nearly 400K such diesels sitting in fields across the country and VW has ceased to sell diesels in the US, as sales plummeted.


     
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  17. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I find it interesting that the oil companies on the North Slope of Alaska use all diesel vehicles and they are never shut down except for maintenance, which is done inside a heated garage. As a result, when these vehicles are sold at surplus auction, you may get a truck with 20,000 miles or less on the odometer, well maintained, but having thousands of hours on the engine; it is a bit deceptive to the unknowing.
     
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  18. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Why does diesel fuel cost more than regular fuel?
     
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  19. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I don't know. It used to be cheaper.
     
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  20. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    It's a lot higher here. I have often wondered why.
     
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  21. Ken Anderson

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    It's quite a bit more expensive here too. I don't know if it's the actual cost that accounts for the differentiation or if diesel is being taxed more highly. Perhaps someone here will know. Diesel is commonly used by commercial vehicles so it might be an extra tax on evil big business.
     
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  22. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Very Well-Known Member
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    The federal tax on diesel is 6ยข more than on gasoline. Week ending national price...

    upload_2018-10-14_21-32-47.png

    Around 2008, there was an international movement to lower sulphur content in diesel...
    upload_2018-10-14_21-48-22.png

    upload_2018-10-14_21-50-9.png
    Germany- Gasoline $6.74USD per gallon. Diesel $6.09USD per Gallon. Exchange EURO/USD 1.15
    A couple of weeks back. gasoline was $6.49 USD per gallon in UK, with diesel at approximately $6.70USD per gallon. EXCHANGE GBP/USD 1.31

    As for the current price of diesel in the US, distillates which include diesel are heavily exported and current inventory of diesel, while on par with last in year in terms of barrels... is toward the very low end of the 5 year average...
    upload_2018-10-14_22-2-50.png
     
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  23. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Shirley Martin
    Historically, as far back as I've been aware of fuel costs, diesel fuel has ALWAYS retailed at far lower prices than gasoline. The reversal of the two has not been in effect all that long, perhaps 10 years?

    Making diesel fuel involves far less complicated reactions than gasoline, as it can be made from almost any distillable hydrocarbon, while gasolines are carefully compounded to maintain an advertised minimum octane rating. The octane compounding is done very carefully, and is even based on weather predictions! In reality, gasoline may contain only a few compounds, or many, and still be sold as "gasoline". Benzine, a known carcinogen, was once present in gasoline in significant amounts; today, it's only a trace. That's not to say the predominating compound present, Hexane, Heptane, and Octane, all usable fuels by themselves, are totally harmless. Some gasolines often are predominantly Hexane, the smelly stuff you are aware of if you open a bottle of rubber cement. Hexane is a good dissolver of latex rubber. When your credit cards arrive by mail, all nicely glued to a paper backing, that "snot" one can peel off was accomplished by use of Hexane!

    Plain old heating oil will run a diesel engine. However, sulfur emissions have in recent years been attacked by the environmental folks, MAYBE with good cause, maybe not. They blame sulfur emissions for the "acid rain" which has disrupted fresh water animal life (supposedly). Little has been said about the enormous amounts of sulfur emitted by volcanoes, like Kilawea in Hawaii, because nothing can be effectively done about it, while compounding diesel fuel to contain less sulfur is expensive. WHEW!
    Frank
     
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  24. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    Apparently removing sulfur from diesel is what caused the increased price. I don't know if they had to add something to replace the sulfur. Here diesel prices go up in the winter as the same distillates are used for heating oil.
     
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  25. Thomas Stearn

    Thomas Stearn Well-Known Member
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    @Harry Havens, no doubt, consumers were cheated regardless of whether they bought into advertising claims or not. Yet advertising claims is one thing, what people believe and what really drives them is another.
    I mentioned the real motivation behind driving a diesel car in my intro. One of them has always been the spread between diesel and gas prices with the former always having been lower in Germany. (Thanks for your charts.)
    There are two main reasons for that: One is technical because diesel is not as refined as gasoline and, thus, cheaper. The other reason is political in the sense that the government wants/wanted to favor those who have to cover long(er) distances, specifically, commuters, freelancers and small businesses.
     
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