While diesel passenger vehicles sales have decreased in recent months, there are some positive signs that indicate diesel sales will recover and expand in the coming years, according toAllen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of theDiesel Technology Forum.
Schaeffer made his comments during a speech to automotive writers at theInternational Motor Press Association(IMPA) this week in New York City. Auto analystAlan BaumofBaum and Associatesalso addressed IMPA by audio fromDetroit.
Schaeffer said that new federal fuel efficiency standards requiring higher vehicle mileage will be a significant boost for clean diesel vehicles, which have about 30 percent better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles. Schaeffer also noted that new diesel technology has helped diesel pickup trucks break the 30 mpg highway mark that will be key to reaching the new federal efficiency standards.
“Diesel is an important strategy for meeting future efficiency and fuel economy requirements for most major automotive manufacturers,” Schaeffer said.
Auto Makers Are Committed to Diesels He also noted that an overwhelming majority of U.S. and international auto makers have expressed support for diesel vehicles in the worldwide markets. In the next year, Schaeffer said, there could be up to 24 new diesel vehicles introduced in the U.S. including five new diesel cars, 12 SUVs and seven pickup trucks.
One specific highlight is the speculation of a diesel version of the Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. Schaeffer said such a commitment from Ford for its top-selling vehicle was a strong indication of the commitment to diesels by automakers.
Diesels Compare Favorably With Other Fuel Efficient Vehicles Schaeffer said U.S. diesel sales have declined significantly due to Volkswagen stopping sales of most of their diesel vehicles here due to the default mechanism in the emissions systems. To recover from this, Schaeffer said auto makers have to clearly demonstrate to consumers that new clean diesel technology compares favorably to other technologies like hybrids and electric vehicles.
Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Further Improve Environmental Benefits Another important positive for the diesel market was the continued use of cleaner-burning biodiesel and the emerging renewable diesel fuel market, which has attracted strong support from city leaders inSan Francisco,OaklandandNew York Citybecause of its ability to significantly improve emissions without any modifications to existing vehicles.
“All Hands On Deck” Strategy Needed to Meet Fuel Economy Regulations Auto analystAlan Baumsaid the future fuel economy regulations will require auto make to adopt an “all hands on deck” strategy using a mix of internal combustion engines, diesels, hybrids, electrics, and even fuel cells. Baum also “light weighting” would be more common among all vehicle sectors to improve mileage.
By the year 2020, Baum projected that hybrids will move forward as costs and the technology improves, diesels would increase, but plug-ins and battery electric vehicles would remain a small sector of the overall market.
Baum also pointed to the continued popularity of diesel pickups – large and small – in the U.S. He said that Cummins is developing a 2.8-liter diesel pickup truck engine that gets 40 mpg on the highway and meets the same Tier 3 emissions standard as a Toyota Prius hybrid.