19 Feb 2019

News of Diesel’s Death is Decidedly Premature

In the wake of what quickly became known as Dieselgate, when Volkswagen became embroiled in a global emissions scandal involving its diesel drivetrains and their certification, you could reasonably assume that new diesel drivetrains, as well as the continued sale of diesels already in the marketplace, were DOA. In reporting by the D.C.- based Diesel Technology Forum, the assumption was just that – an assumption. In a year (2018) in which overall automobile sales in the U.S. were up by just 0.5 percent, the U.S. market absorbed 50,000 more light duty diesels than in the previous year.

To be sure, much of this sales performance is due to the expanding popularity of light-duty pickups and SUVs. Diesel’s torque contributes to its unsurpassed towing capability, while its efficiency provides both real world economy and outstanding range. And for those with an environmental axe to grind, the use of biodiesel significantly blunts that argument.

Despite the buzz generated by electrified vehicles (EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids), diesel sales – at 3% of the U.S. market – exceeded the 2% posted by hybrids and that same 2% achieved by plug-in hybrids. New models announced with planned diesel drivetrains include the new Jeep Gladiator pickup and Mazda3; these are on top of the more typical light duty and heavy-duty pickup segments. In talking torque, whether for your urban commuter or weekend tow vehicle, there’s only one great answer. His name is Diesel.