In this era of sky-high gasoline prices, Americans are increasingly looking to fuel-efficient diesel as a solution to help alleviate their pain at the pump. And because today’s diesel vehicles are also clean, quiet and fun-to-drive, many consumers are learning diesel is an environmentally conscious option that does not sacrifice power or performance.
Click on the following link to see a list of clean diesel vehicles available for sale in the U.S.
Diesel vehicles are extremely fuel efficient, typically getting 20 to 40 percent more miles to the gallon than a comparable gasoline engine.
Respected automotive web site Edmunds.com found that diesel's slightly higher purchase price compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle is quickly offset by fuel-economy savings. Diesel drivers have recouped the initial premium anywhere from six months to four years following the vehicle's purchase. But with hybrid vehicles, Edmunds reports that "this so-called break-even period is longer - in some cases as much as eight years longer."
Diesel could help reduce America's petroleum consumption. According to officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, America could save up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day - an amount equivalent to the oil we currently import from Saudi Arabia - if one-third of U.S. cars, pickups and SUVs were diesel-powered.
The nationwide availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel allows manufacturers to engineer the cleanest diesel vehicles ever. Today, diesel vehicles are certified to the same stringent federal and California emissions standards as gasoline cars, pickups and SUVs. Thanks to their inherent fuel efficiency, diesel engines also offer a viable and readily available strategy for policymakers interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Diesels provide superior power and performance, an important feature for American drivers who want to save money at the pump without sacrificing their driving experience.
Diesel drivers have the option of filling their tanks with blends of biodiesel, a domestically produced, renewable fuel that reduces U.S. oil dependence and contributes to our own economy.
A study published by policy think-tank RAND Corp. reported that diesel topped all other options in a cost-benefit analysis from both a consumer and societal perspective.
A Growing Market
Data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co. show that registration of diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S. - including cars, trucks and SUVs - has grown by 80 percent since 2000, up from 301,000 diesel vehicles that year to 543,777 diesel registrations in 2005. For the all-important light-duty market, diesel registrations nearly doubled (95 percent growth) from 2000-2005, with 31 percent growth coming in 2005 alone. When given a choice between a gasoline or diesel engine, consumers purchased the diesel engine option almost half the time (45 percent) in 2005.
According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, there are more than 4.8 million diesel cars, pickups and SUVs registered in the United States.
Most analysts expect continued growth in the diesel market. Researchers at J.D. Power and Associates predict that diesel sales will approximately triple in the next 10 years, accounting for more than 10 percent of U.S. vehicle sales by 2015 - up from 3.6 percent in 2005.
In a separate report, J.D. Power researchers found that the percentage of new-vehicle shoppers who are considering a hybrid has declined while interest in clean diesel has grown. In 2007, 23 percent of new car shoppers would consider a clean diesel, up from only 12 percent in 2006. On average, car buyers interested in diesel are willing to pay an additional $1,491 for the clean diesel option and expect an average additional fuel economy of 15 mpg.
Another report, Is Diesel Set to Boom in the U.S.?, predicts that sales of clean diesel cars, trucks and SUVs will outpace hybrids over the next five years. The report, prepared by UBS Limited in conjunction with automotive industry consultant Ricardo, predicts that sales of both diesel and hybrid vehicles will grow in the U.S. as legislators increase fuel economy and emissions standards. Diesel vehicles, however, will outpace hybrids by 2012, selling 1.5 million vehicles, compared at an expected 1.2 million hybrids.