More Diesels on the Way?

Market-research firm J.D. Power predicts global diesel light-vehicle sales to increase from
12.5 million in 2003 to 27 million by 2015, with 60 percent of the growth coming from
outside of Europe. The company also expects diesel cars and trucks to account for as much
as 16 percent of new light-vehicle sales in North America within the next 12 years.

In
Europe, diesels have almost a 50 percent market share, but in the United States, diesels
account for less than 1 percent of the total light vehicles registered. But that is
changing, since diesels made up 4.5 percent of new car and light-truck sales in North
America in 2002.

Diesel vehicles offer fuel economy that can be as much as 30 percent
higher than in comparably sized gasoline models. Since this advantage increases with
vehicle weight, the fuel-economy benefits for diesel SUVs, pickups and vans are even
greater.

Currently, technological advances have reduced diesel emissions enough that at
least some manufacturers plan to introduce 2004-compliant diesel versions of popular
models, including DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep Liberty and the Mercedes E-Class sedan.

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