We are just into the fifth month of the year and car manufacturers are already promoting their 2008 model year vehicles. The 2008 Ford Escape and its hybrid version have already been released and so are other auto models from different car manufacturers.
In the United States, as prices of gasoline increases, hybrid cars have been gaining popularity. For the 2008 model year, it is expected that car manufacturers will be introducing more hybrid vehicles as the demand for this type of automobiles increases. Another technology though is set to be unleashed into the United States and Canadian auto markets in the form of clean diesel engines. Next year, it is expected that European and Japanese car manufacturers will be introducing diesel cars in the said auto markets. In Europe, the use of diesel engines is already popular, thanks to companies like Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz. The success of diesel engines in the region is expected to give diesel engines a better reputation in the United States.
For years after the 1970s and 80s decades, Americans have been staying away from diesel engines. It can be remembered that this engine technology was introduced in the 1970s in the United States. Unfortunately, the diesel engines of old are known for their black soot emissions and in some cases poor reliability. Newer diesel engines though have overcome this problem with the use of better emission filter technology.
The Ford Super Duty already available in the market boasts of having a powerful diesel engine with emission similar to that of a gasoline engine. The Super Duty is one of the vehicles that can promote the use of cleaner diesel engines. The problems encountered in the use of bio-ethanol is also another reason seen that will help popularize the use of diesel cars.
Flex-fuel vehicles in the United States which are designed to run on a combination of gasoline and bio-ethanol is recently being criticized due to the lack of fuel refilling stations offering E85 – the alternative fuel composed of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent bio-ethanol. In a recent study, it was found out that 99 percent of flex-fuel vehicles in the United States are actually using conventional gasoline thereby beating the purpose of these supposed to be environment friendly vehicles.
Already, European car manufacturers have expressed their intentions to release diesel vehicles in the United States next year. The German Volkswagen has been selling diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. for decades and at present, they will upgrade their engines by using a cleaner technology dubbed as the Blue Motion. The first Volkswagen auto model which will use the clean diesel technology is the Jetta.
Another German car manufacturer which will introduce diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. next year is Mercedes Benz. Sport utility vehicles or SUVs, known as the favorite of American car buyers, will be what Mercedes Benz will be equipping with their clean diesel engines. Already announced to be released in the United States auto market are diesel versions of the M-Class, R-Class, and the GL-Class. These vehicles will be equipped with clean diesel engines and other soot cleaning technologies from the engine to their Mercedes Benz mufflers and out the exhaust pipe. Aside from these European carmakers a Japanese company has expressed their intention to introduce a diesel car in the U.S.
Nissan, the third largest Japanese car manufacturer announced that they will be producing a diesel-powered Maxima sedan in the near future.
One problem in the way of the promotion of use of diesel engines in the United States is the availability of diesel fuel. Not more than 50 percent of all refueling stations in the country are offering diesel engines. Fortunately though, the oil industry is clearly supporting the use of diesel-powered vehicles. The Marathon Petroleum Company recently earmarked $3.2 billion for the expansion of their refineries that is expected to increase the availability of diesel fuel in refilling stations across the United States.
Another problem faced by diesel powered-vehicles in the country is consumer acceptance. Although new technologies have made diesel engines cleaner than their ancestors, its reputation has been tarnished heavily. Gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles are also popular among car buyers and it would be something that diesel cars must contend with. Furthermore, the use of advanced emission cleaning technology gives these diesel engines a price almost equal to that of hybrid vehicles. In the end, it would be a matter of preference that will spell the success or lack of it for diesel-powered vehicles.