Although they account for just over 3 percent of U.S. auto sales, diesel powered vehicles are expected to grow in popularity over the next five years. In fact, LMC Automotive predicts the number of diesel vehicles on American roads is expected to double by 2018.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and General Motors are reaping the benefits of increased interest in diesel vehicles and the number of diesel models available in the U.S. is expected to more than triple to 60 over the next four years.
Ultra-low sulfur fuel and new developments in engine technology have made diesel engines quieter, more powerful and cleaner than in the past.
An example of the increased power is Audi’s 3-litre TDI diesel engine, which delivers 428 pound-feet of torque, compared to Audi’s 3-litre TFSI gasoline engine.
In fact German automakers have been at the forefront of the diesel revolution. Two years ago, diesel vehicles accounted for nearly 52 percent of the European market. In Germany, however, diesel autos accounted for nearly 42 percent of all vehicles sold that year.
Diesel vehicles also have higher resale value than gasoline-powered models. According to data from auto industry research firm ALG, compact diesel models retain 63 percent of their value after 36 months. Similar gasoline-powered vehicles retain only 53 percent of their value over the same time period. Hybrid models fare only slightly better, retaining 55 percent of their value after 36 months.
Although diesel fuel may cost more at the pump, it’s also 25 percent to 30 percent richer in energy, which means less-frequent fill ups. For example, the BMW 328d diesel model gets more miles per gallon than a gasoline-powered Smart fortwo coupe. It also produces 180 horsepower compared to the fortwo’s 70 horsepower.
Availability is among the biggest advantages diesel-powered vehicles have over hybrid models. Diesel fuel is available at over 50 percent of gas stations across the U.S. Public charging stations, necessary for all electric and plug-in electric vehicles, are scarce to non-existent, depending on the area of the country you live in.
A recent Business Insider article also pointed out that diesel-powered vehicles have won the 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race every year since 2006. The winning autos included the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, Audi R10 TDI, Audi R15 TDI plus, Audi R18 TDI, and Audi R18 e-tron Quattro.