2012 Volkswagen Passat Trendline+ TDI
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WASHINGTON, DC, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The new fuel economy standards for automobile and light trucks announced today by Obama Administration officials will expand the opportunity for more clean diesel cars, light trucks and SUVs in the U.S., according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Schaeffer said the fuel efficiency of clean diesel technology is expected to “play an expanded role in improving fuel economy of the fleet needed to achieve the 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100 km) level by 2025 as mandated by the new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards.”

“Meeting these fuel efficiency targets will likely require diverse technology solutions and we’re extremely confident that clean diesel technology is one of those solutions,” Schaeffer said. “American consumers are already showing us they are interested in more clean diesel passenger vehicles.

U.S. Diesel Car Sales Have Increased 27.5% In 2012

During the first six months of 2012, clean diesel auto sales in the U.S. have increased by 27.5 percent. This renewed interested in diesels is also reflected in increased domestic sales in 22 of the past 23 months. With more than 15 new diesel autos to be introduced in the U.S. market in the next two years, I expect diesel sales will increase significantly in the coming years.

2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 Bluetec
2012 Mercedes-Benz ML 350 Bluetec. Click image to enlarge

“Because clean diesel autos are 20 to 40 percent more efficient than gasoline vehicles, diesel will be a major player in the nation’s effort to achieve the new mileage standards,” according to Schaeffer.

Likely Strategies Necessary to Meet Higher Fuel Economy Requirements

Schaeffer said there are many variables in achieving the new standards but said some of the most likely strategies include:

  • Downsizing and light-weighting of vehicles across the board will help reduce energy requirements.
  • Advancements in gasoline engines:  Improvements in gasoline engines, such as downsizing, turbo-charging and the use of direct injection will yield higher fuel economy.
  • Clean Diesel already delivers 30 percent more mpg than a comparable gasoline engine and can gain further efficiencies in the future.
  • Increased use of electric motors for functions previously run by belts on the engine.
  • Hybrids that use a combination of gasoline and electric motors.
  • Plug-In Electric vehicles: Vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle that uses a gasoline powered generator to extend the vehicle range after the battery has been depleted.
  • Use of lower carbon biofuels like renewable diesel fuel and biodiesel.

European Drivers Already Rely On Diesel Cars for Increased Fuel Efficiency

“In Europe, nearly 50 percent of all the automobiles on the streets today are diesel cars due to their high fuel efficiency, low emissions and long-term durability,” Schaeffer said.  “While a more modest three percent of cars and light trucks in America are diesel at this moment, these new fuel efficiency targets will dramatically increase the number and kinds of choices of clean diesel cars available to U.S. drivers.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood On Clean Diesel Technology In May 2011: If one-third of all United States vehicles used this kind of fuel-efficient clean diesel, we would save 1.4 million barrels of oil a day. That’s the same amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia, so this is a big deal.”

Source: Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are 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.  For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.

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