Letter Re: Advice on Diesel Vehicles–Motorcycles and ATVs?

Dear Mr. Rawles:
I already had a diesel Ford tractor, so I took your advice and got a diesel pickup, and I’m shopping for a used [diesel] Mercedes. Those things run forever. And as my budget allows, I’ll also plan to buy a diesel generator to replace my gasoline backup generator. So now I have logistics problem: I have two types of fuel to store, since my motorcycle, Polaris ATV, and my Husqvarna chainsaw all use gasoline. Diesel stores way longer than gas. But I guess that there is no way to avoid having some gas vehicles and tools.

JWR Replies: If you do some searching, you can find diesel-powered dirt bikes. Last year, Arctic Cat introduced a diesel ATV, and Roush Industries has developed an interesting variant of the diesel Arctic Cat. But I suppose that the jury is still out on reliability of these new diesel ATV models. (One of my grandfather’s sage mottos was: “Never buy the first year of any new model car or truck.” I suppose that the same caveat should apply to other vehicles and any other complex machinery.)

As for chainsaws, there were a few diesel saws made decades ago, but they never caught on, since diesels are inherently heavier than gas engines of the same displacement, and they typically have lower RPM. However, one possibility is the ethanol chainsaw variant made for the Brazilian market by Stihl. But I’m not sure where you could lay your hands on one in the U.S.