Transport Fuels

Diesel Technology Forum: Diesel-powered vehicles remain popular in the U.S.A.

Diesel Technology Forum: Diesel-powered vehicles remain popular in the U.S.A.
Photo courtesy of Diesel Technology Forum.

Diesel continues to hold 3% of the American automotive marketplace, with nearly eight million diesel-powered cars, SUVs, trucks and vans operating on U.S. roads in 2017, according to analysis by the Diesel Technology Forum of 2017 U.S. vehicles in operation data (Class 1-3) provided by IHS Markit.

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Based in metro Washington D.C., Diesel Technology Forum members are global 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.

Texas continues to be number one in terms of total number of registered diesel vehicles, ahead of California, Michigan, Florida and Washington. Meanwhile, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska maintain the highest percentages of diesel vehicles.

“The new generation of diesel technology feels right at home in show rooms alongside advanced gasoline, battery-electric and plug in hybrid vehicles,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Forum. “We know it’s not a one-fuel-fits-all world, and for consumers, diesel is a proven performer that delivers real benefits: high fuel efficiency, great driving range, and no sacrifices in vehicle size, fueling access, utility or towing capabilities, or performance. With the capability to use advanced renewable low-carbon biodiesel fuels, consumers can choose to do even more for the environment.

“This generation of diesel vehicles is among the most scrutinized, tested and most improved in the world. Looking forward, we expect diesel registrations to rise, especially in SUVs, trucks and vans, in part due to full-year availability of the newest models. With the 2018 and 2019 model years, manufacturers are adding more than 10 new diesel models to the U.S. market, across the most popular vehicle segments.”

Pickup trucks remain the most popular type of diesel vehicle, with more than 6.6 million on U.S. roads in 2017. Diesel continues to hold more than 13% of this vehicle segment, despite registrations having fallen by 100,000 units between 2016 and 2017. Diesel vans are gaining in popularity, with more than 120,000 added to the roads in 2017 – an increase of more than 44% nationwide, claiming 5% of the total van segment.

“Hands down, diesel pickups offer some of the best value for consumers,” said Schaeffer. “On top of gaining 20% to 35% more torque and towing power, diesel pickups can go an extra 150 miles per tank of fuel and can save owners an average of 200 gallons of fuel per year. We calculated these benefits out across the full pickup truck segment, and if every full-size pickup truck in America used diesel fuel, we’d save more than 500 million gallons of fuel each year – the same as if 15% of all cars in the U.S. switched entirely to electric power.”

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