Commercial vehicle drivers in Nigeria are probably some of the most money conscious humans you can ever find on earth. They look for ways to save fuel, save more, spend less, and cut corners without putting the impact their acts will have on the environment and even the passengers they convey.
In the past, these drivers buy the littlest quantity of light brown petrol, which they believe doesn't burn fast, and only refill them when their buses are about to go off. They had the notion that white (clear) petrol burns faster, so it's not economical for their business. About a decade ago, a new trend started - the filling of diesel in their petrol engines. This came as a shock to many but it has remained that way till date. If you are still wondering why commercial bus drivers put diesel in petrol engine of their vehicles, here's a breakdown to give you a heads up.
1. Diesel burns slower than petrol
Not everyone knows that diesel actually burns a lot slower than petrol. Buses used for commercial purposes are those models made in the 90s with petrol engines. When you turn on the ignition with your car key, the spark plugs and piston work in tandem to cause petrol combustion - which causes the engine to come on. Starting the engine alone burns more fuel than even 2 minutes of idling the engine would.
Knowing this fully well, bus drivers opt for diesel which burns a lot slower. They also know that diesel still will burn a lot slow when they are on top speed, and since their business also involves being swift to catch up with prospective passengers, diesel is a perfect option. Therefore, they are saving fuel and making more money.
It's not a mistake. Nigerian bus drivers do this intentionally
2. Diesel is more economical
As already stated earlier, diesel burns slower than petrol. This means you would spend less time at the filling station as compared drivers who run on petrol engine. These man hours spent at the filling station can be used in making extra money. Therefore, bus drivers opt for diesel.
Keep in mind that the cost of one liter of diesel is way less than the cost of a liter of petrol. So if a bus driver fills their vehicle with diesel and you fill yours (of the same fuel tank volume) with petrol, yours is likely to actually run out quicker than the one filled with diesel.
Furthermore, when you both head to the station to purchase fuel for your cars, do you notice that the line at the petrol stands are usually more than that at the diesel dispenser? Commercial bus drivers don't have such time to waste on a long queue.
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3. More torque and subsequent speed
It is believed that diesel boosts the speed of cars. This might be a myth, but it is yet to be debunked.
In fact, the statement seems to be further solidified by the fact that new cars with diesel engines actually run faster (on the average) as compared to those with petrol engines. Heavy duty trucks (trailers and tankers) also have a high speed - and it has been attributed to their diesel engines. Commercial bus drivers seek such speed to add to their swiftness in the business. That's another reason why they put diesel in their petrol engine cars.
Notice the way they speed, you can realize the difference!
Additionally, diesel boosts the force needed to rev your engine and increase its acceleration. The need for this torque and speed is a reason for adding diesel to their engines. You might have even noticed the way certain buses blast past their counterparts of the same capacity on the highway. That should clear your doubts a little.
4. Are there bad sides to adding diesel to petrol engine?
Definitely yes. When you're in a commercial bus that runs on diesel instead of its standard petrol, you will notice lots of noise and vibrations. This is as a result of the diesel in it. The engine doesn't entirely use the fuel it's burning so it reacts in such manner. Although, diesel engines are known to vibrate and make a lot of noise. But these vibrations spread out evenly through the large space covered by the vehicle. Making the effect on passengers, less. But it's more on smaller commercial buses that use them.
Furthermore, the vehicle can misfire. Yes the diesel boosts speed and torque but they can also come unexpectedly. This can lead to accident and inertia while you're in the bus. The engine can also refuse to start or even cut out while accelerating. All these are as a result of the diesel in the petrol engine. Now that you know why commercial drivers put diesel in petrol engine, you should also be able to tell one when you see. This is will help decide whether to get into the vehicle or wait for another.