Automotive DesignLine Blog
The current fuel price spike not withstanding, sales of hybrid cars dropped last year while diesel-powered purchases grew.
AAA recently deemed clean diesel engines a top new vehicle technology, along with electric and plug-in hybrid cars, and various safety and engine technologies. "Modern diesel engines are clean, quiet, refined and powerful. They also are economical, often providing a 30% boost in fuel economy with a corresponding decline in carbon dioxide emissions compared to gasoline engines offering comparable performance," noted the car club's release.
Now you may have read some of my comments or screeds before about diesels (and how I picked a diesel over a hybrid for my own particular driving needs). We also posted a How-To feature on diesel efficiency vs. hybrids that pulled a great deal of traffic.
So, on the heels of the AAA announcement, the Diesel Technology Forum issued a press release with some interesting data about diesels and hybrid cars. (The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization to "raise awareness about the importance of diesel engines." Forum members represent the three elements of" the modern clean-diesel system:" Advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, clean diesel fuel and emissions-control systems.")
Points made by forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer in the release include:
- New diesel automobiles are extremely fuel efficient, typically getting 20 to 40% more miles to the gallon than a comparable gasoline engine.
- A Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business study highlighted that despite the slightly higher purchase price associated with diesels, they are a good value compared to gasoline-powered vehicles because of lower operating costs and higher resale value. [Ed. Note: My dealer keeps wanting to buy back by 2004 diesel wagon.]
- While almost 50% of new autos sold in Europe are diesel-powered [Ed. Note: Due in large part to the tax structure], slightly more than 3.3% U.S. cars, lights trucks, and vans in operation are diesels, according to R.L. Polk and Company.
- Sales of clean diesel cars increased by 37% in 2010, while hybrid sales fell about 6% in the same period. [Ed. Note: But the base number of vehicles is probably way larger for hybrids than diesels.] Month-over-month sales of all clean diesel cars were up 14% in December over November 2009, and 18.6% over December 2009. The new February 2011 diesel sales statistics reflect this continued increase in U.S. sales.
- Currently, more than half of all service stations having diesel fuel available, up from only 42% just five years ago. [Ed. Note: Maybe in his neighborhood!] Coupled with the ability to also use bio and renewable diesel fuels, consumers are finding diesel power "an easier technology of choice."
OK, readers, why not comment with your take on all this diesel stuff?