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Chrysler Developing Prototype Engine That Burns Gasoline and Diesel

New, high-mileage powertrain concept breaks all the rules.

by on Jun.06, 2011

An unusual engine design using both diesel and gas could yield over 30 mpg in the big Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Oil and water don’t mix, and neither do gasoline and diesel fuels.  Not until now, anyway. But that old rule could soon go out the door.

Chrysler and the U.S. Department of Energy are developing a radical engine design that burns a combination of gasoline and diesel fuels.  If the prototype works, it could help Chrysler and other automakers meet tough new fuel economy targets that will be phased in over the next 15 years, according to a presentation given by Chrysler during the DOE’s 2011 Merit Review in Washington D.C.

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The small-displacement, 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder multi-fuel engine promises up to a 25% improvement in city and highway fuel economy for a Chrysler minivan, compared to a 2009 4.0-liter V-6, while maintaining similar performance. That would mean that the new engine could yield as much as 31 mpg on the highway in a Town & Country.