Celebrate with a good puff of 'soot' (or 'not' if your driving the VW TDI clean diesel) ... or if your running biodiesel just the scent of 'French Fries.' Nevertheless back in 1893 the diesel engine was patented.
Rudolf Diesel received a German patent for the diesel engine on this day. The diesel engine burns fuel oil rather than gasoline and differs from the gasoline engine in that it uses compressed air in the cylinder rather than a spark to ignite the fuel. Diesel engines were used widely in Europe for their efficiency and power, and are still used today in most heavy industrial machinery. In 1977, General Motors (GM) became the first American car company to introduce diesel-powered automobiles. The diesel-powered Olds 88 and 98 models were 40 percent more fuel-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. The idling and reduced power efficiency of the diesel engine is much greater than that of the spark engine. Diesel cars never caught on in the U.S., partly because the diesel engine's greater efficiency is counter-balanced by its higher emissions of soot, odor, and air pollutants. Today, the argument over which engine is more environmentally friendly is still alive; some environmentalists argue that in spite of the diesel engine's exhaust pollution, its fuel efficiency may make it more environmentally sound than the gasoline engine in the long run.