Just as “video killed the radio star,” cheap gasoline in the 1980’s and 90’s killed diesel engines in the cars of the American market. While emissions limitations still made headlines in the larger cities, fuel efficiency and the economy of size took a back seat to horsepower and cup holder/occupancy capacity. Gone were the Fiesta’s and in were the Excursions. As fuel prices are now reaching all new highs so are the interests in gas mileage and emissions. Which makes it an ideal market place for the return of a highly efficient, low emissions diesel engine.
AlthoughÂ todays diesel engines are not that much further ahead in fuel efficiency from the old ones, they far exceed them in clean burning and emissions. The new diesels do not share the rattles, shakes and plumes of black smoke that the diesels we are still familiar with did. That is thanks in a large part to a European market that remained thirsty for the diesel engine while the American car market grew fat on cheap gas. With a strong demand leading the way many of the major automakers were still investing money into the research and development of better diesel engines. Thus bringing the diesel engine to its strongest point yet and primed for a re-emergence on the American car market.
While the VW TDIÂ engines have been in use in the GTI, Beetle and Jetta for years (if not decades), both Ford and Mercedez-Benz have been working on improving upon their diesels for expansions into the American market . Even AudiÂ is looking to break into the diesel engine market after their success with their diesel racing engine at Sebring this year. And just recently Honda announced that it will no longer be making an Accord hybrid for the American market. To replace the hybrid Honda will be releasing in 2008 the Accord Diesel. Also debuting on the market in 2008 will be a Volvo XC70 with a diesel engine.Â
As alternative fuels, bio-diesel and fuel efficiency grow predominately in the minds of some famous musicians and the American car buyers it now seems that diesels are poised to compete with the hybrid motors for their share of the automotive pie. The only concerns remaining will be whether tougher emissions regulations will bench the diesel engines before they begin and whether bio-diesel fuels will be in plentiful supply (not that bio-diesels are required for diesels approaching the market, but they do help to Green up the imagine even more). Ofcourse the biggest question mark for the diesel market will be whether or not enough American consumers will buy into diesel in the coming years.