As automakers vie to meet ever-increasingly stringent fuel economy standards, they are introducing a greater number of diesel cars. People are buying them, too, as sales of diesel cars have been picking up in recent months.
Oil burners in vogue as sales of diesel cars increase
More people are trying to squeeze every inch of travel from each drop of fuel and governments are insisting that car makers produce cars that will do it. Naturally, car makers are starting to turn to making more diesel-powered cars. Diesel engines typically return much better fuel economy than their gas-powered counterparts. However, they are generally a bit more expensive to engineer and manufacture, which makes them a tad more expensive in most cases.
Despite the added cost, more people are buying them. According to AutoGuide, data from hybridcars.com and Baum and Associates indicates that sales of diesel cars, specifically clean diesels that produce far fewer emissions than older designs, have been increasing lately. Diesel car sales have increased for 22 of the past 23 months. For all but two of those months, the increase was in the double-digits. Increases of 30 percent or more, according to MarketWatch, were recorded in 12.
Sales of diesels up more than 27 percent
Overall, according to AutoGuide, sales of diesel cars is estimated to be up by 27.5 percent since the start of the year. Hybrid car sales, however, posted much larger gains, with hybrid sales having increased by 63.5 percent.
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Though it sounds astounding, diesels and hybrid cars and trucks still account for around 3 percent of the total car market, according to Marketwatch. However, Pike Research estimates that higher gas prices will eventually result in clean diesels becoming more popular over time. As a consequence, Pike estimates that clean diesels will eventually come to represent 12.4 percent of all cars sold in the United States by 2018, far less than the 50 percent share they have in Europe.
Naturally, the sales leaders of diesel models were all European. The Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Passat were the most popular diesel cars sold in the first half of the year, with the diesel models accounting for 37.1 percent and 21 percent, respectively, of the sales of those models.
More on the way
A number of car makers are coming out with new diesels, including at least one entry from a domestic car maker as General Motors, according to AutoGuide, is going to release a Chevrolet Cruze diesel in 2013. Jeep is also working on a Grand Cherokee diesel, Ford has a forthcoming Connect diesel van and Cadillac, in it’s bid to take on the Europeans, will be releasing an ATS diesel sedan. Volkswagen is going to release a diesel Beetle and Mercedes-Benz is going to bring a diesel S-Class stateside.
BMW, according to Car and Driver, is also going to start selling the 320d, a lower-trim diesel-powered 3 series here in the near future, after pulling the plug on the 335d model.
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