WASHINGTON — Clean diesel automobile sales have continually grown in the U.S. this year, with a 20.4 percent increase in August alone, according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
For the year, domestic diesel auto sales have increased by 37 percent over 2010, compared to the overall auto market’s 10.4 percent increase.
The August 2011 clean diesel auto sales statistics compiled by HybridCars.Com and market analyst Baum and Associates show that diesel cars sales increased by 20.4 percent over August 2010. As a comparison, the overall U.S. auto market was up 7.5 percent in August.
"The steady increase in clean diesel auto sales is a reflection of the U.S. public’s shift toward clean and more fuel-efficient vehicles," Schaeffer said. "With the increased fuel prices over the past year and the government’s new fuel efficiency standards, American drivers are seeing that clean diesel cars are the best option for reliable green transportation.
For the past 13 months, clean diesel auto sales have increased each month over the previous year, according to HybridCars.Com Market Dashboard statistics. Hybrid sales since April 2011 have decreased primarily due to the major production and distribution problems caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan.
U.S. Clean Diesel Overall Market Sales Projected to Reach 7.4 Percent by 2017
By 2015, Baum and Associates expects diesel car sales to grow to 6 to 6.5 percent of the entire U.S. market, compared to just over 3 percent today. The research firm J.D. Power & Associates sees the U.S. diesel market share growing steadily to 7.4 percent by 2017.
Schaeffer said fuel-efficient clean diesel technology is expected to play an expanded role in meeting the 54.5 mpg fuel economy standards by 2025, as mandated by the new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency regulations announced by EPA this summer.
"While almost 50 percent of all cars in Europe are diesel-powered, slightly more than 3 percent of cars and light trucks in the U.S. are diesels," Schaeffer said. "But the positive monthly diesel sales increases in the U.S. and the new higher federal fuel efficiency requirements are both positives signs for the future growth of clean diesel sales."
Chevrolet, Mazda, Mercedes & Volkswagen Will Increase Diesel Availability in U.S.
"There are currently 16 cars, trucks or SUVs with a clean diesel engine available in the United States but this number will be increasing," Schaeffer said. "New diesel entries into the U.S. market will be the hot-selling Chevrolet Cruze available in 2013, according to General Motors. And 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.
"In addition, Volkswagen has recently opened its new manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., and will produce a significant number of new clean diesel Passat TDI vehicles – as much as 30 percent when at full production. And the S350 BlueTEC marks the return of the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class to the United States after a 17-year absence.
"While most auto makers have clean diesel autos on the market in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are rumors that even more diesels are on their way to the U.S. market," Schaeffer said.