Could more diesel-powered cars be coming to the United States? That’s the prediction that car companies are making, as more energy-efficient cars begin to take over the market.
But the catch is that diesel may not be as “clean” as the American public has been led to believe.
Diesel is used in countries like Venezuela, which has some of the cheapest gasoline prices in the world. That allows citizens of the country to fill up their vehicles for no more than $1, usually.
But now “clean” diesel may be coming to the U.S., not necessarily due to drivers’ cost concerns, but because of their desire to take care of the environment.
Cars and trucks running on diesel often rely on air intake filters and other parts that are made especially for diesel-powered vehicles. Diesel particulate filters (or DPFs), for instance, may even last longer than cars running on regular unleaded gas, made to last for 100,000 miles or more.
The New York Daily News reports that the days of smelly old cars are gone, and now German automakers, especially, are rolling out more modern models that most people wouldn’t even guess burn diesel.
German manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, and even Porsche have all released diesel-fueled cars for 2015 to the U.S. market.
American brands, including Chevy, Ram, Jeep, and Ford have also made diesel-fueled cars and trucks for U.S. car buyers.
Nissan, which hails from Japan, will have an oil-burning pickup truck in its 2016 lineup.
So what’s their appeal to the American public? For several years now, car makers have told drivers that diesel fuel produces fewer CO2 emissions than unleaded gasoline.
Yet according to BBC News, diesel actually emits about the same amount of CO2 as gasoline, and these types of vehicles also produce other pollutants, which are linked to thousands of premature deaths.
Nearly half of all cars running and sold in Europe run on diesel, which means that car manufacturers are reluctant to acknowledge the harm the fuel may be doing.
Greg Archer, from the Transport and Environment think tank in Brussels, explained that the industry wants to keep selling diesel cars “… because it has invested so heavily in the wrong technology.”
Yet maybe there’s still hope for cars in the U.S. and abroad. Manufacturers are still trying to find ways to make cars, even those running on gasoline, better for the environment.
As for diesel, it is still heavily used in semi trucks and other large commercial vehicles, so it’s not going anywhere just yet.