R.L. Polk & Co. reports that annual registrations of new diesel cars, trucks and SUVs
in the United States has grown nearly 56 percent over the last five years, up from 301,000
diesel vehicles in 2000 to nearly 470,000 diesel registrations in 2004. Interest in
high-mileage drivetrains has skyrocketed recently.
Dodge built 100 diesel-hybrid Ram pickup
trucks in late 2004 that sold before they were even assembled. J.D. Power and Associates
expects diesel’s market share in light-vehicles will hit 15 percent by 2014, up from 3.9
percent currently. Ultra-Low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel will allow diesel-powered light
vehicles to meet stricter 2007 emissions rules.
Beginning in 2006, most highway-grade
diesel fuels must drop from a standard of 120 parts per million (ppm) (300 ppm cap) in 2004
to 30 ppm (80 ppm cap) in 2006. The ULSD allows emissions-control equipment such as
particulate traps and catalytic converters to work.