High fuel economy and long range are boosting sales of “clean diesel” automobiles and trucks, with gains in the double digits in many states, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Diesel Technology Forum.
Conclusions were drawn from registration statistics of all passenger vehicles – cars, sport-utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans – that were compiled by R.L. Polk and Company in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through December 31, 2013.
Also noted in the analysis is increasing popularity of diesel-powered pickup trucks in the East and Northeast, with continued high use by drivers in the West.
Of all registered vehicles -- cars, pickup trucks, vans, SUVs -- there are more diesel drivers in western states like Wyoming (10.8%), Montana 8.1%) and Idaho (6.9%).
“Consumers there have long valued the high fuel efficiency and driving ranges of diesel vehicles - some which approach 800 miles on a single tank of fuel,” said Alan Schaeffer, the forum’s executive director. “But these results show an equally high interest in clean diesel in populated and more urban states.
“Among the top ten states for diesel car and SUV registrations in 2013 were California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Washington, New York, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey.”
Five of the top 10 fastest growing states in 2013 for diesel pickup trucks are in the Northeast -- Vermont, Delaware, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – he said.
“Pickup trucks continue to dominate the overall registration numbers for diesel, but we can see that changing in the coming years as new diesel engine options appear in an increasing number of cars, crossovers, SUVs and light-duty and compact pick-up trucks,” he said.
In 2013, diesel registrations increased by 410,040 nationally and hybrids increased by 531,385. The analysis also showed that while overall diesel sales were up 30% in the 2010-2013 period, hybrid sales increased by 64.5%.
“We fully expected that hybrids would outpace diesel sales based on the number of choices available to consumers during this timeframe,” Schaeffer said. “In 2013, there were 23 diesel cars and SUV choices for consumers, but more than double that - 50 choices - of hybrids.
“We are poised, however, to see the number of clean diesel choices grow in the next 18 months to encompass more vehicle classes and price ranges which will make diesels increasingly accessible to more consumers.
"Already we know of 16 announced new clean diesel options that are coming to the U.S. later this year through 2017.”
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit education and support group for manufacturers and users of diesel engines and associated technology. More information on the analysis is at http://www.dieselforum.org/resources/clean-diesel-vehicles-currently-available-in-the-u-s-