VER THE YEARS, AMERICANS and Europeans have been worlds apart when it comes to diesel
vehicles. Diesel passenger vehicles have popular in Europe for years, and the become
increasingly more each year. In fact, according to a survey performed by Eurocarprice.com
and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, diesel car sales in Europe are on pace to exceed gasoline
car sales in 2006. Even in the United Kingdom, which has the highest diesel fuel prices
in Europe, gasoline-fueled car sales 11 percent last year while diesel-fueled car sales
increased by more than 7 percent.
In America, diesel passenger vehicles have traditionally been a tough sell, with
many Americans harboring negative impressions of diesel vehicles as being noisy, polluting
and foul-smelling. However, industry experts predict a dramatic comeback for diesel
passenger vehicles in America. According to TechnoMetrica, diesel vehicles may eventually
become as common in the United States as they are in Europe, and J D Power and Associates
projects diesel sales to nearly triple in the United States over the next decade, accounting
for more than 10 percent of US vehicle sales by 2015.
Diesel technology has come a long way since the 1970's, and stringent new federal
diesel emissions requirements take effect in 2007. As the 2006 model year expires, most
of the year's diesel vehicle models will be discontinued, giving way to a new generation
of diesel engines designed to not only meet stringent federal clean air requirements,
but also to be as quiet and odor-free as gasoline engines, increase fuel economy by
25 to 40 percent and provide enough torque to satisfy American drivers.
A significant breakthrough in this new era of clean diesel technology was this year's
introduction of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel. Sulfur is a key element to particulate
formation, and ULSD eliminates 97 percent of pollution-causing sulfur. While present
diesel passenger vehicles can be sold in all states except California, New York, Vermont,
Massachusetts, and New Jersey, automakers plan to take advantage of new ULSD fuel and
advances in diesel technology to create diesel engines that meet the pollution requirements
in all 50 states.
Automakers are developing different pollution-reducing technologies for future diesel
passenger vehicle models. For example, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors plan to introduce
engines that inject urea into the cylinders during combustion. Honda, on the other hand,
recently announced the development of a new catalytic converter that significantly reduces
nitrogen oxide (NO2).
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with pre-2007 diesel engines and recommended for newer and older diesel engines. For
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