July 29, 2011

EPA’s New Higher Fuel Economy Standards Expected to Increase Clean Diesel Car & Truck Choices for U.S. Consumers

"Several automobile manufacturers are already preparing to introduce new fuel efficient clean diesel engine options in the U.S." - Allen Schaeffer, DTF Executive Director

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The new fuel economy standards for automobile and light trucks announced today by the Obama Administration are expected to expand the opportunity for more clean diesel cars, light trucks and SUVs in the U.S., according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Schaeffer said fuel-efficient clean diesel technology is expected to "play an expanded role in improving fuel economy of the fleet needed to achieve the 54.5 mpg level by 2025 as mandated by the new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards. "

"Meeting these challenging new fuel efficiency targets will require many different technology solutions and we're more confident than ever that clean diesel technology is going to be one of those solutions. Only time will tell if the American consumer is ready for plug-in electric, natural gas, or propane powered vehicles on a larger scale, but they are already telling us loud and clear today that they are ready for more clean diesel technology by their choices in showrooms.

2011 Diesel Car Sales Are Showing Significant Increases

"Already in 2011, we've seen impressive increases in U.S. clean diesel auto sales. In May, U.S. diesel car sales skyrocketed 34 percent higher than in May 2010. This followed the 46 percent increase in U.S. diesel sales in March 2011 over March 2010.

"Now more than ever, consumers are cautious with their automotive investment dollars looking more for long-term value, performance and confidence, all of which they get with a diesel vehicle. The technology is proven and clean diesel fuel is now available alongside gasoline blends at more than half of all service stations throughout the country. In addition, the resale value of diesel vehicles has traditionally been higher than for comparable gasoline models, making for a total cost of ownership advantage. And the ability to use renewable lower-carbon biofuels further enhances the appeal and importance of clean diesel as a key technology to achieve these national goals.

European Drivers Already Rely On Diesel Cars for Increased Fuel Efficiency

"In Europe, nearly 50 percent of all the automobiles on the streets today are diesel cars due to their high fuel efficiency, low emissions and long-term durability. While a more modest three percent of cars and light trucks in America are diesel at this moment, these new fuel efficiency targets will dramatically increase the number and kinds of choices of clean diesel cars available to U.S. drivers.

"Even with fewer choices for consumers, clean diesel car sales indicate a growing consumer acceptance. Today, U.S. consumers can choose from 16 cars, trucks or SUVs with a clean diesel engine, compared to more than twice the amount hybrid technologies. The next diesel entries into the U.S. market will be the Chevrolet Cruze available in 2013, according to General Motors. Mazda also announced that its SKY-D clean diesel engine will be available here in the 2013 timeframe as a new option in one or more vehicles.

"Clean diesel engines will allow manufacturers to continue to provide consumers with the full range of vehicles they want, from fuel efficient family sedans and crossover SUVs, to full size pickup trucks, which continue to rank in the top five best selling vehicles in the U.S. - all this without sacrificing performance for fuel economy."

Fact Sheet


In May of 2010, President Obama, in a Rose Garden Ceremony announced a new effort to propose greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks and to begin the process for establishing further corporate average fuel economy (CAFÓ°) standards for light duty vehicles. (Note: This fact sheet focuses only on the light duty vehicle fuel economy. For DTF comments on the medium and heavy duty truck GHG rule see the press release and fact sheet.)

Why is this Administration action important?

  • It establishes fuel economy and GHG emissions requirements of light duty cars and light trucks. These policies will have a substantial impact on new vehicle design, fuels and technology in the 2017 and beyond timeframe.

Will the process require certain fuels and technologies be used to meet the goals?

  • No. EPA & NHTSA will establish standards and conditions for manufacturers to meet. Each manufacturer will then make their own technology choices based on anticipated customer desires and their product lineups.

What are the likely strategies to meet higher fuel economy requirements in the future?

  • There are many variables but some of the most likely:
    • Downsizing and light-weighting of vehicles across the board will help reduce energy requirements.
    • Advancements in gasoline engines: Improvements in gasoline engines, such as downsizing, turbo-charging and the use of direct injection will yield higher fuel economy.
    • Clean Diesel already delivers 30 percent more mpg than a comparable gasoline engine and can gain further efficiencies in the future.
    • Hybridization: Vehicles such as the upcoming Chevrolet Volt that has a downsized gasoline engine and an advanced hybrid powertrain with battery energy storage.
    • Increased use of electric motors for functions previously run by belts on the engine.
    • Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles powered exclusively by electricity.
    • Use of lower carbon biofuels like renewable diesel fuel and biodiesel.

What are clean diesels' leading attributes for why it will be a technology choice in meeting these anticipated requirements?

  • Diesels give consumers a choice without trade-offs, offering an unmatched combination of 20-40 percent better fuel efficiency, economical cost of ownership, higher resale values and spirited driving performance. Diesel's achieve these results during all driving cycles and in larger and smaller vehicles alike.

How many diesel cars and trucks are available for consumers today?

  • Currently there are 16 models of light duty cars and light trucks and heavy-duty pick- up trucks available to consumers. Vehicle manufacturers include BMW, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Ram trucks, and VW. The complete listing can be found here.

What percent of the current market share do diesels have in the United States?

  • The research firm J.D. Power & Associates forecasts the U.S. diesel market share at 3.1 percent in 2011.

Are there new diesel products coming to the U.S.?

  • Yes. On July 22, Chevrolet announced it would introduce a new diesel Cruze in 2013. (The Cruze was the number one selling car in the U.S. in June 2011). Mazda announced it plans to bring its clean diesel technology known as SKY-D to the U.S. in 2013 in one or more vehicles. There are a number of other reports of manufacturers planning diesel engine options for cars and light trucks in the U.S. in the near future.

What are the future market potentials?

  • All car and truck sales have been impacted by the recession of the last three years. However these predictions highlight the range of confidence for more diesels coming to the U.S.
  • In May 2011, U.S. diesel car sales increased 34 percent compared to a year earlier, according to the research firm Baum & Associates.
  • In March 2011, hybrid and clean diesel cars both experienced a 46 percent increase in sales compared to March 2010 - a jump that was about three times higher than the increase in the overall car market, according to Baum and Associates.
  • By 2015, Baum expects diesel car sales to grow to 6.0 to 6.5 percent of the entire market, compared to just over 3.0 percent today.
  • The research firm J.D. Power & Associates sees the U.S. diesel market share at 3.1 percent in 2011, and growing steadily to 7.4 percent by 2017.

What about Europe; aren't diesels popular there?

  • Yes. Diesels have consistently accounted for nearly 50 percent or more of all new passenger car registrations since 2004 in Western Europe, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Last year, diesel cars made up 45.9 percent of all new passenger registrations (13,665,782 units) in Western Europe.

What about diesel fuel--is it as available as gasoline or do you have to go to a truck stop for filling?

  • Ultra low sulfur clean diesel fuel is more widely available today at more stations than ever before - more than 52 percent of all stations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (See Diesel: Fueling the Future in a Green Economy)


The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.

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Allen Schaeffer:

Steve Hansen
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301-668-7230 (o)
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SOURCE Diesel Technology Forum