Although in Europe, for example, the diesel engine has long caught the consumer’s “pockets” with its 20% or more fuel savings, in the US the cars equipped with such engines are only now catching up.
American buyers are now increasingly interested in diesel powered vehicles, especially since automakers offer – very few – but well placed variants, like the Ram 1500 diesel or the Chevrolet Cruze diesel. The only big deterrent so far is the huge price fluctuation, with diesel going up or down for causes unrelated to the gasoline price.
“Car buyers get nervous when they see the price of a fuel jumping around,” Edmunds.com senior analyst Bill Visnic said. “People don’t like uncertainty.”
“The cost of a gallon of diesel may go up on the same day gasoline goes down,” adds IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley.
Nevertheless, IHS Automotive and the Diesel Technology Forum, an industry group made up of automakers, suppliers and other companies both forecast that vehicles with diesel engines could reach a market penetration of 6% to 9% in 2020, up from 3% now.
The automakers are not standing idle, as well, with around 40 new diesel vehicles, ranging from small cars to full-size pickups and SUVs, are set to enter the dealerships from now to 2017.