Talking to an Audi rep, and Diesels in the US

Alex Kowalski hypereutectic1 at
Fri May 12 21:54:39 EDT 2006

Huw wrote:

>Of course, duh.  The distribution and delivery problems inherent in
>adding a secod grade of diesel fuel to the system would be insane.
>Which would mean a complete changeover would be required.  Fuel first,
>then motors.

I don't think it would be that tough.  Most of the modern pumps that I've
seen in newly-constructed gas stations would handle two grades of diesel
fuel pretty easily if they were supplied.  I really can't imagine the
changeover to offering two grades of fuel, at least until the demand picks
up for the low-sulfur alternative among auto buyers would mean that much of
a significant impact in the price.

What's *really* surprising to me right now, is that even what seems like the
old, high-sulfur Diesel is more expensive than Gasoline in most places.
Diesel used to be, frankly, the piss of the refinery product, and I can
understand why refining ultra-low-sulfur Diesel is more expensive, but if
that is true, why is "conventional" diesel so high?

Something is going on in the economics of diesel fuel refining that I don't
completely understand.  If we want to switch over to low-sulfur fuel, and
see more TDI cars (which I do) it's strange to me that the high-sulfur stuff
is even more expensive than gasoline given that it is easier to refine.

And if we are going to switch to the low-sulfur stuff, and have more cars
that work with it, it seems that the price will go up unless we build new
refineries to do it exclusively.

The "chicken and egg" aspect of the problem is just a part of the full
picture.  I'm a big supporter of increased sales of TDI diesels in passenger
cars, and I would even drive a few extra miles to a more limited number of
stations if I knew that I could get the fuel at a price that wouldn't make
the whole thing a wash, or worse.

So we really need to have a thorough cost-accounting of this.

Alex Kowalski
A TDI Diesel Fan and former owner of an Isuzu-powered Chevette Diesel.  (!!)

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