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March 03, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

A Short Month with Big Results

If the near future is anything like this past February, consumers will continue to consider a diesel for their next car or truck.

For much of the country, February was a warm month. In fact, for the first time in 150 years, there was no snow on the ground in Chicago.  Americans took advantage of the weather to hit dealer lots and purchase a new car.  Of the many makes and models American car buyers chose, diesel came out on top proving that diesel cars and pickups are here to stay.

February was a big month for car buyers.  Auto sales were 17 percent higher in February over January.  Of all the alternative powertrains available, more car and pickup buyers chose a diesel option.

Alternative Technology Option

January to February Sales Growth

Total Auto Sales

Up 17%

#1 Diesel

Up 35%

#2 Plug-in Hybrid

Up 25%

#3 Battery Electric

Up 24%

#4 Hybrid

Up 16%

SOURCE: Hybridcars.com

Not only did diesel February sales beat all the other powertrains, the best-selling diesel beat the best-selling battery electric by 2 to 1.  While Tesla Model S sales were strong, at 1,900, Ram 1500 Ecodiesel sales came in at 4,153. 

The diesel segment has been buoyed by pickup sales.  About half of the diesel sales are pickups.  We can expect strong growth in the future with the addition of a diesel option in the best-selling pickup, the Ford F-150, announced for next year.  The strength of the diesel segment does not rest on pickup trucks alone.  In the coming months we expect Mazda to release the much anticipated and CX-5 diesel along with more GM SUV diesel options including the GMC Terrain and the Chevy Equinox.  Still yet, GM announced plans to introduce a diesel option on the Chevy Cruze that consistently ranks in the Top 10 best-selling sedans in the U.S. In fact, the diesel option is estimated to get over 50 mpg.  This is fuel economy that rivals the best-selling hybrid. Look for that Cruze in a diesel hatchback version as well.

Diesel offers something for everyone.  For consumers looking for greater power and performance in a pickup, improved fuel economy in an SUV to haul the family, or a sedan with record breaking fuel economy, diesel has it. If the near future is anything like this past February, consumers will continue to consider a diesel for their next car or truck.


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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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