In a day where phrases like Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel, Exhaust Gas Recirculation, Urea Injection and most of all Diesel Particulate Filter are being used in an industry that is more accustomed to phrases like “Boost Fooler” and “Mufflerectomy”, many people are wondering if this is the end of the diesel performance
era. Many people are even asking, “Is Diesel Performance dead?” Now there are a couple of different ways to approach this question and with a topic so close to many people’s hearts it’s oftentimes very difficult to know which way is the best to approach the subject.For many people that have voiced their opinions about the stringent standards that the EPA is putting on Car Manufacturers this is the end of an era; much like the end of the muscle car era. There are many people saying that January 2007 was much like January 1972, marking the end of what is being a called the “Diesel Performance Era” just like 1972 is looked on as the official end of the Muscle Car Era. If you take a step back and compare the two “Era’s” there are a couple of similarities, those being mainly the race to see which company can make more frame wrenching horsepower and torque after decades of research and development and then also being shut down by the EPA and new emissions laws.
So where do we go from here? Is that the end of diesel? Will the even tighter restrictions that will be enforced in 2010 be so smothering that automakers decide to abandone diesel lines altogether? Well as of right now, all signs actually point to a bright future in the diesel arena itself. Several automakers are talking about adding diesel engines to their lineup including Honda who has a diesel Accord set to enter the market in 2009 and there are rumors of Toyota adding a diesel option to their Tundra, but guys can only hope right?
If we look again at the parallels between the two eras we can see a bright glimpse of hope for the diesel performance aftermarket in a couple of different ways. Since the end of the muscle car era in 1972, aftermarket performance has definitely changed. Even more so in the past decade with just the upload of a program from a diesel performance programmer you can be 100 horsepower or more above stock in just a matter of minutes. That is definitely a far cry from the performance modifications of old. It’s my guess, and take it for what you will, but I see the diesels of the last decade or so becoming much like the muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s, sort of the last of the fun vehicles, less restriction and more possibilities for big power. Although new diesels will continue to increase more and more in power, I think that the new restrictions are going to make it even more difficult for manufacturers to create programmers, chips, intakes etc. that will work without setting off check engine lights and throwing codes etc.
So in the end I say that the future looks bright for diesel vehicles as a whole. As for diesel performance, if you have a 1994-2006 diesel, either hold onto it or give me a call–because the value is going to increase, just watch and see. – Nathan Young
Nathan Young is a diesel performance enthusiast. His main areas of interest in the industry are VW TDI performance and diesel performance chips.
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