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Diesels Are Taking Back California

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On: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 11:28AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

Diesels Are Taking Back California

California led the way in the campaign against diesel-powered automobiles but that trend is in major reversal. The once labeled “dirty”, diesel-powered cars are driving back into the Golden State and are occupying the roads as green vehicles. During the year of 2012, over 10% of the vehicles on the road in the state were diesel-powered passenger cars and sports utility vehicles. Many wonder what has prompted this new change in attitude.

Diesel-powered vehicles have made leaps and bounds in change since they were first introduced in the passenger car market. Today’s market contains diesels which are greatly evolved compared to previous models. The truth is the modern diesel vehicle is superior to gasoline-powered automobiles in many different ways. Diesel engines are more powerful and fuel efficient than their gasoline engine counterparts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, diesel engines are around 30% to 35% more efficient than like-sized gasoline motors. Diesel vehicles are also far less harsh now than they once were. Many diesels are also even eligible for federal tax incentive programs for consumers.

Strict emissions regulations in California drove the diesel passenger car out of the state by the late 90s. Through the use of advanced technology in engineering and design, diesels are now largely able to meet emissions regulations in all 50 states, including the strictest emissions guidelines in California.

The change in consumer attitude can be pinpointed to the 2009 model Volkswagen Jetta TDI being dubbed the Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2008. This model met emissions regulations in all states and got over 40 highway MPG. The fact that a diesel was able to receive this type of recognition gained the attention of many. From there, the floodgates were open for diesel car and SUV makers to follow in VW’s footsteps—competing brands were not going to just give Volkswagen free rein of the state! Automakers Audi, BMW, Jeep, Porsche, Mazda, and even Chevrolet now all have their own diesel models.

The bottom line is automakers have discovered how to please the consumers while complying with emissions laws across the board. Modern diesels don’t look or sound like the rough-around-the-edges vehicles they were once known as, and people are discovering the benefits of driving one over gasoline-powered vehicles.


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