Renting a car through rent a car services is a convenient and efficient way to ensure your desired mobility, especially when you are away on a business trip or as a tourist far from home and you don’t want to waste time expensive using public transport.
But, when it comes to renting a car in such a system, the question always arises: what kind of vehicle to choose? Should you choose gasoline or diesel as the engine of the car? Opt for a more powerful and more economical car for longer journeys or opt for a sportier one, but with a slightly higher fuel consumption?
To all these questions and to many others that may arise when the diesel vs. gasoline, you will find an answer in the lines of this article, which is intended to be a guide for those who want to know in advance the advantages and disadvantages of each type of engine before opting for a rent a car service or in any other situation in which is about renting a vehicle for a short or longer term.
Gasoline or diesel – an almost age-old confrontation between two thermal propulsion systems
Before going into details and comparisons between the diesel engine and the gasoline one, it is useful to briefly review the origin of the two propulsion systems which, in fact, have a common origin. The common origin of diesel and gasoline engines is the technical concept of an internal combustion or internal combustion engine, which was the next step from steam engines in which the thermal energy needed to create the pressure that gave rise to the mechanical work was obtained outside the assembly motor.
After a dominance of almost two centuries of steam engines, the internal combustion engine makes its appearance on the world technical stage.
An internal combustion engine is a type of engine that works by igniting a mixture of fuel and air in a closed cylinder with a piston, which produces an explosion that actuates the piston linked by a connecting rod system to a crankshaft or engine shaft . Thus, the linear back-and-forth movement achieved through repeated cycles of intake, compression, explosion or expansion and exhaust of the burnt gases inside the cylinders turns into a circular movement with the related mechanical work that practically sets a vehicle in motion.
Of course, the first internal combustion engines were equipped with a single cylinder and a single piston. Later, more complex engines with more cylinders appeared, so that today there are, in general, engines with three, four cylinders or even six or eight cylinders for the more powerful cars.
The internal combustion engine was invented in the 19th century, and the first internal combustion engine that became practical and not just experimental or that managed to show a sufficiently good performance was built by a German engineer named Nikolaus Otto, in 1876. Otto invented an internal combustion engine that operated on a four-stroke cycle, which is still used in modern internal combustion engines even today. Before Otto’s invention, other types of engines, also with internal combustion, had already been invented, but they were not practical for large-scale use due to inefficiency, low yields and, above all, the need for frequent maintenance.
Having the distinction of being the first internal combustion engine, the gasoline engine was invented at the end of the 19th century, shortly before the invention of the diesel engine. The engine patented and built by the German engineer in 1876 was a gasoline engine, being the first engine that used this fuel in the entire history of engines. In those days, gasoline was a somewhat unused product resulting from the early refining of oil, which, at that time, had the main purpose of obtaining lamp gas, necessary for lighting.
Otto’s engine proved to be more efficient and reliable than steam engines, which, however, continued to propel ships and locomotives thanks to the higher engine torques that steam could achieve. However, the engine developed by Otto became the basis for the development of the modern gasoline engine.
Over the next few decades, gasoline engines were refined and improved and began to be used in a variety of applications, including transportation, agriculture, and even marine ship propulsion. Today, gasoline engines are used in a wide range of vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, and airplanes. They are also used in lawnmowers, boat engines, generators and many other smaller engines.
The diesel engine was also invented by a German engineer named Rudolf Diesel, at the end of the 19th century. Diesel had been trying for some time to find a more efficient and reliable alternative to the steam engines that were widely used at the time. He experimented with different designs and fuels and eventually developed a prototype engine that used high pressure compressed air that released intense heat to ignite a pulverized fuel. Unlike this new concept, Otto’s gasoline engine used a spark produced by a spark plug to ignite a mixture of fuel and air, a concept that remains valid in the gasoline engine to this day.
The Diesel engine was more efficient in consumption and had a higher thermal efficiency than steam engines. It was also more reliable because it did not have the complex system of valves and moving parts that steam engines had. In the early 20th century, diesel engines began to be used in a variety of applications, including transportation, agriculture, and marine vessels. Today, diesel engines are used to power a wide range of vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks, buses and ships. They are also used in construction equipment, powerful, industrial, power generators and many other industrial applications.
Diesel engines vs. gasoline – acceleration, maintenance costs, pollution, consumption and yield
Even if it is only about renting a car for a shorter or longer term, an operation that can be carried out simply and efficiently, for example, by using a rent a car service from Cluj-Napoca Airport or at a service similar to rent a car from Targu Mures Airport, or similar services within the cities, the choice of the car to rent, especially for somewhat longer terms, focuses, most of the time, on the dilemma of petrol vs. diesel to obtain maximum benefits depending on use.
Thus, in the following, you will be able to follow a comparison of diesel vs. gasoline regarding acceleration, maintenance costs, reliability, differences between engines, yields and pollution levels, as well as other differences that could lead you to one or another of the options.
Petrol vs diesel – the advantages and disadvantages of petrol engines
Gasoline engines have several advantages over diesel engines:
Fuel price: cars with gasoline engines are cheaper. On the other hand, gasoline is cheaper today than diesel. The price difference in favor of gasoline is given today by the much higher demand on the market for diesel fuel, for the simple reason that most means of transporting goods and passengers (trucks, buses, coaches, diesel locomotives, river and maritime vessels, etc.) and all machinery agricultural and construction vehicles (tractors, combine harvesters, excavators, bulldozers, etc.) are currently propelled by diesel engines, gasoline remaining the prerogative of cars.
Maintenance: Gasoline engines generally require less frequent maintenance than diesel engines. They have fewer parts to maintain and do not require diesel particulate filters (DPF) or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems, which can be expensive to maintain. Gasoline engines are generally lighter and smaller than diesel engines, which makes them easier to install and keep in good working order.
Performance: Petrol engines are generally more responsive and offer better acceleration than diesel engines, which may be important for some drivers with a sporty driving style. They are also quieter and produce less vibration, which can be an aspect worth considering for those who want superior comfort during longer car journeys.
Emissions: Gasoline engines tend to produce lower emissions of nitrogen oxides than diesel engines, which can be important to those who are concerned about environmental protection.
On the downside, it’s worth noting that petrol engines are generally less efficient than diesel engines and may not be the best choice for everyone. Gasoline engines also have disadvantages, such as higher fuel consumption and higher emissions of carbon monoxide and non-combustible hydrocarbons compared to diesel engines.
Factors such as the intended use of the vehicle, local regulations in city centers regarding emissions and personal preferences should be taken into account when making the decision to opt for a petrol or diesel engine when calling a rent a car service or at the time of selection in the form of car reservations.
Diesel vs gasoline – the advantages and disadvantages of diesel engines
There are several reasons why someone might choose a diesel engine instead of a gasoline engine:
Fuel efficiency: Diesel engines are usually more efficient than petrol engines, meaning they can go further on a single tank of fuel. This can be especially useful for driving long distances or for vehicles that are used for work and have to cover a lot of ground every day.
Power and torque: Diesel engines generally have more power and torque than gasoline engines, which makes them suitable for heavy-duty applications such as transporting many passengers or driving in mountainous areas or on rough terrain.
Towing capacity: Diesel engines tend to have more towing power than petrol engines, which can be useful if you need to tow a trailer, caravan or haul heavy loads.
Durability: Diesel engines are known for their durability several times higher than that of gasoline engines. Properly maintained and on time, a diesel engine can achieve hundreds of thousands of kilometers of operation in optimal parameters.
Cost: While diesel cars may be more expensive to purchase, they can be more cost-effective in the long run due to greater fuel efficiency and longer engine life.
Emissions: Diesel engines tend to produce lower emissions than petrol engines, especially in terms of carbon dioxide. However, they emit more nitrogen oxides, which can contribute to air pollution.
On the downside, it’s worth noting that diesel engines can produce more emissions than petrol engines and may not be the best choice for everyone, especially if you’re driving in areas where diesel traffic is banned , as it has already become a practice in many of the centers of large cities in Europe.
On the other hand, diesel fuel, diesel, is generally more expensive than gasoline, so renting a car with a diesel engine can be more expensive. In addition, diesel engines are powerful, but they also produce more vibrations than gasoline engines, although in modern cars this is no longer as noticeable as in the past. In addition, diesel engines may require more frequent oil changes and maintenance to keep them in efficient working order.
What should I choose, petrol or diesel for a rented car?
In the case of a rented car in France, the choice between gasoline and diesel propulsion depends mainly on the personal preferences of the driver. In addition, it is necessary to weigh some factors that could facilitate the process of this decision and reach a decision in favor of one or the other of the engines more quickly.
The length of the rental and the number of kilometers expected to be covered
If you will use the rented car for a longer period of time and will do a significant number of kilometers inside and especially outside the urban agglomerations, your choice should be towards a car with a diesel engine. The consumption efficiency of a diesel engine is clearly superior on long journeys compared to a gasoline engine.
If you have a more sporty driving style, and you are used to an immediate response of the car’s engine to acceleration, then your choice should go towards cars with gasoline engines, which offer significantly higher accelerations than diesel engines.
Pollution and driving locations
It is very possible that some cities will prohibit the circulation of polluting cars in the urban center. Such regulations are very possible in the near future in Romania as well, where diesel engines may be banned in the centers of large cities or a traffic fee will be charged. In this sense, the orientation of those who want to rent a car will be towards less polluting cars, from the range of small gasoline engines if the transport destinations are mainly to crowded centers or have a touristic purpose of visiting crowded areas.
In conclusion, the choice between diesel or gasoline in the field of rent a car, of short, medium or long term car rental, depends on a series of factors, advantages and disadvantages, which you have noticed while reading the lines of this article. In the end, the decision towards one or the other of the propulsion modes mainly depends on the advantages that each propulsion system offers in relation to the interests or the purpose for which you use the rented car for the majority of the contracted time.