Boulder, CO — Modern diesel vehicles have undergone a major transformation in their emissions profiles in recent years. The European Union, Japan, and the United States have implemented stringent light duty vehicle (LDV) emissions regulations covering diesel vehicles as well as diesel fuel. A new report from Pike Research finds that rising fuel prices and stronger fuel economy regulations will stimulate increasing demand for clean diesel vehicles in markets around the world, and the “Cleantech market intelligence” firm forecasts that sales of these vehicles will increase from 9.1 million in 2012 to 12.1 million annually by 2018, with clean diesels representing 12.4% of all LDV sales by the end of that period.

“Demand for diesel cars is primarily driven by their fuel economy,” says senior analyst Lisa Jerram. “A diesel vehicle typically gets 20 to 40 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline car. This factor, along with favorable tax treatment for diesel fuel, has made diesel cars tremendously popular in Europe, where they have accounted for around 50 percent of LDV sales over the past several years. Due to Europe’s very high fuel prices, the price premium of a diesel car can be paid off quickly.”

Jerram adds that other markets that have not traditionally been strong diesel markets are beginning to open up now. North America, in particular, has been a weak market for diesel LDVs for 20 years. This is largely due to the low gasoline prices in the United States, which has not spurred drivers to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles of any type, including diesel. However, in 2011, the diesel market began to show signs of revival, and Pike Research anticipates that the growth of diesel LDVs will be especially strong in North America during the coming years, with annual sales volumes expected to increase from 282,000 vehicles in 2012 to 928,000 by 2018. Due to emissions regulations in the United States and Canada, all of these diesel vehicles will be clean diesels.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that many countries with strong diesel car markets do not yet have such emissions regulations in place, and therefore in the long term, tremendous upside potential exists for growth in the clean diesel market as additional regulatory measures are implemented around the world.

Pike Research’s report, “Clean Diesel Vehicles”, analyzes the global market potential for clean diesel light duty vehicles, as well as the medium and heavy duty segments, from 2012 through 2018. The study assesses the demand drivers for diesel to gain market share over gasoline in key markets where clean diesel regulations are in place. Key industry players are profiled in depth and detailed market forecasts are provided for the clean diesel vehicle market, segmented by world regions and key countries, through 2018. The report also compares projected clean diesel adoption with forecasts of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles in key regions. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors.