"I've been here 28 years, and in the early years, fuel was very predictable and rarely moved," said Tim Kreilkamp, one of the family co-owners of Kreilkamp Trucking in Allenton. "It moved pennies one way or the other, but it seems since 2004 when the ultra-low-sulfur diesel was introduced, the cost increased over gasoline and the volatility rose."
Changes in emissions standards also have affected diesel.
"The fuel economy isn't as good as it used to be because of all the emissions equipment that has been added," Baker said. "That's added to the cost of an engine, and the mileage has decreased."
But the cleaner aspects of diesel also have made it more popular, which increases its demand.
"It's becoming a very, very clean product," Ritterbusch said. Gone are the days when diesel cars belched acrid exhaust from their tailpipes. "It was so dirty, the bumpers would turn black. You don't see that anymore."
And, despite the higher pump costs, diesel vehicles offer advantages, especially when heavy loads need to be hauled, Baker said.
"If you are pulling a decent-size backhoe every day, then yeah, there's no question," Baker said. "You need that low-end torque that diesel offers in order to get that load going.
"Then it doesn't matter how much it costs because that's what you have to have."
Going forward, Ritterbusch expects diesel prices to remain steady.
"It's the old good news-bad news situation," he said. "The good news is they aren't going to go higher. The bad news is we're not going to see much of a price downdraft."
Dish on diesel
- Nearly 50,000 light-duty diesel vehicles in the state of Wisconsin.
- In Wisconsin, a gallon of diesel costs about 60 cents more than a gallon of gas.
- Diesel engines are 30 percent more fuel efficient than similar-size gas engines.
Copyright 2014 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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