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American Drivers Increasingly Adopting Diesel Cars and SUVs

By: Jeff Youngs, 6/16/2014

A new report by the Diesel Technology Forum says that Americans are buying increasing numbers of diesel-powered cars and SUVs as automakers seek to meet tough new federal fuel-economy rules by 2025. Based on data compiled by IHS Automotive, U.S. registrations of diesel vehicles have increased by 30% since 2010.

"Consumers have an ever-growing number of choices for more fuel-efficient vehicles and this analysis shows that clean diesels are gaining in popularity all across the nation," said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "Diesel car registrations are up 30% since 2010 while the overall market only increased 3.6%."

Though the IHS Automotive data also showed hybrid registrations increasing nearly 65% during the same period, Schaeffer says that in 2013 consumers had 50 different hybrid car and SUV models to choose from, compared to 23 clean diesel models.

In reviewing the data, the Diesel Technology Forum determined that consumer acceptance and adoption of clean-diesel technology is happening in all parts of the country. "One of the more interesting findings is the universal appeal of clean diesel cars, trucks, and SUVs," Schaeffer said. "We see new registrations of diesel cars, trucks and SUVs growing in all regions of the U.S.--red states, blue states, urban and rural regions alike."

In total, California, Texas, and Florida have registered the most diesel and hybrid vehicles in recent years, while diesel registrations are increasing at the highest rates in Illinois, Arizona, and California. The Diesel Technology Forum does admit that the majority of diesel registrations are for pickup trucks, but Schaeffer insists the mix is shifting, a reflection of diesel's growing popularity among general consumers.

According to Schaeffer, 16 new diesel-powered car and SUV models will be on sale in the United States through the end of 2017. He also reminds consumers that diesels are typically 30% more fuel-efficient than gasoline vehicles, they are competitive or superior compared to other fuel-efficient technologies when it comes to the costs related to ownership, and they can travel long distances between fuel stops.

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