Blog: Does diesel do it for the US?

30 Nov, 2012 12:52pm Tom Phillips

Our web reporter, Tom Phillips, on the arrival of ‘CleanDiesel’ in the US

From a European point of view, it’s hard to think of diesel-engined cars as new or novel. But in the US, diesel cars are only just beginning to make an impression, as more carmakers add oil burners to their lineups.

And that’s because, by 2025, all carmakers have to adhere to new federal fuel efficiency standards that require a 54.5mpg (65.5 UK mpg) average across their respective ranges.

Audi already sells the A3 2.0 TDI and Q7 3.0 TDI in the US, but the firm is using the LA Motor Show to introduce 3.0 TDI ‘CleanDiesel’ versions of its Q5, A6, A7 and A8 models to the US market by the end of 2013, with the A4 set to follow.

It’s also kicked off a #fuelforthought Twitter hashtag, so showgoers can tell the world what they think of the German firm’s diesel domination plans, with the best Tweets projected on a giant screen on its show stand.

Prices for Audi’s forthcoming diesels are yet to be announced, but the MSRP of the Q7 diesel is $52,000 - $5,200 more than the equivalent petrol, while in the UK, the 3.0-litre diesel is £2,605 cheaper than the petrol.

It’s the same story for the US VW Passat. The 2.5 TDI costs $26,225 - $2,285 more than the petrol, while 2.0 TDI UK Passats also undercut their 2.0 TSI petrol counterparts.

Diesel is in its relative infancy in the US, but sales have climbed 25.6 per cent in 2012, and that’s only set to grow with the new Mazda 6, Chevrolet Cruze and a number of BMW and Mercedes models all set to get diesel variants in the US in the next two years.

Diesel car prices will likely fall, too, as will the cost of the fuel, which is predicted to fall three per cent per gallon in 2013 to around $3.83.

But, having spent the last few days in LA, it’s clear that the US appetite for huge cars with large capacity petrol engines that drive lots of freeway miles remains.

Providing that carmakers like Audi can persuade buyers to try their latest quiet CleanDiesel models, the switch to oil burners means that, for many, their driving experience won’t change. They’ll just use a lot less fuel.

Disqus - noscript

and the DPF filters are they going to be part of this or have these been replaced with newer technology that actually works?

US in states like California are very strict on NOx pollution of diesel cars, but don't seem apply the same regulations on big diesel pick-up trucks as it would put to many Americans out of work.

It kind of seems hypocritical to me? You would have thought conserving energy would be more important,

If you are a Yank can pump tons loads of carcinogenic NOx in a big 18 MPG diesel pick-up truck thats OK, pump as much burger lard & fizzy pop into your veins unabated under US law, but just don't drive a small diesel car they will kill you?

How will big 15 MPG pick-up trucks meet future US EPA MPG regulations?

they do work, if you do the motorway runs they need and not just potter around town

The price of fuel in America is still quite cheap compared to Europe. However, if it were a similar price to europe's, the yanks would be craving diesel.

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