The Clean Diesel Drive, co-organized by the United States Council
for Automotive Research (USCAR) and the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF),
demonstrated more than a dozen clean diesel production and prototype
vehicles on Capitol Hill in Washington recently. Many of them have never
been seen or driven before in the United States. The purpose was to
allow top lawmakers and other government officials to experience
first-hand how powerful, quiet and clean a modern diesel vehicle can be.
Diesel engines are on average 30 percent to 40 percent more fuel
efficient than comparable gasoline engines. According to the
Environmental Protection Agency, four of the seven most fuel-efficient
vehicles sold in the United States are diesel powered.
Vehicle manufacturers note that increasing the percentage of
diesels would improve energy security in the United States. According to
the U.S. Department of Energy, if 30 percent of the light-truck and
passenger-vehicle market used diesel technology by 2020, it would reduce
net crude-oil imports by 350,000 barrels per day. Such a reduction is
equivalent to approximately half the total energy used each day in
Diesel proponents also say because the engines are inherently more
fuel efficient, they emit 20 percent to 40 percent fewer greenhouse
gases than comparable gas engines. Thanks to cleaner-burning engines,
lower sulfur fuel and better emissions-controls, diesel is on a path of
continuous environmental improvement.
Diesels now are used in more than one-third of all new vehicles
sold in Europe. In the luxury and premium sectors, high-performance
diesel engines make up more than 70 percent of all new European sales.