With a market share of less than 3 percent, diesel-powered vehicles are no performers in the United States.
However, according to industry experts that may soon change, as diesel engines’ superior mpg figures will appeal more and more to consumers affected by high gas prices.
German carmakers are currently leaders in diesel-powered vehicles in the United States, with Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and VW offering at least one diesel model in their lineups. Other carmakers are set to join them, with GM to bring a diesel version of the Cruze to the States in 2013, its first diesel car sold in the U.S. in decades. Mazda will also debut a new diesel engine in 2013, although the model which will receive it is yet unknown.
Auto supplier Robert Bosch forecasts diesel sales to grow to 10 percent of the U.S. market in the next 10 years, as diesels have enjoyed popularity in markets where gas is expensive. Analysts say more buyers could switch to diesel cars if gas prices rise sharply and surpass the price of diesel fuel.
Diesel engines are on average 20 percent to 30 percent more fuel efficient, are more durable and produce more torque than their gasoline counterparts. They are also more expensive, $2,000 to $4,000 on average and diesel fuel also costs more than gasoline in the United States.