Why can't I buy a small to mid size diesel engined car in USA


For years now the rest of the world has moved to high efficiency diesel engined cars. In Europe, I?ve rented models made by Fiat, Ford, GM, Volkswagen, Audi and others. They are all fast, well made, quiet, and VERY fuel efficient. 45 mpg when driven fast. They are easily as fuel efficient as hybrids. But none are available in the USA. Low sulpher fuel is available in the USA and the emissions of the high efficiency diesels are lower than even hybrids and way lower than the average gas engined Japanese import. Go to the Audi web site. First choice is Europe or USA. The USA site shows no Diesel models but the European site shows more diesel than gas. Why no high efficiency diesels in the USA?


No doubt they’ll start feeding their way into the US market sometime in the future, but historically Diesels don’t sell well in the US so the demand wasn’t there. But now you’ll need to wait for the tedious type approval process to drudge through its cycles.

I also suspect the US marketing people were a little off pace (he said diplomatically). Diesels have moved significantly, some Euro oil burners are so good you’d think it was a gas engine until you looked under the hood.


I’ve often wondered the same thing…

It was weird today though…I saw one of those little two-seater European box car looking things driving down the freeway…I was too far back to get a brand name, but I thought it was pretty cool!


i cannot answer you but i do share your lament. i have wanted a midsized diesel for years w/out having to buy an import that cannot be serviced locally.

also, if it were offered it would go for a premium price which is a different gripe. it would be like paying top dollar for old technoligy (spelling). what i mean is it’s not new andlife changing. rudolph diesel invented this engine to run off peanut oil about 100 yrs. ago.


BTW…The ultra low sulphur diesel, while becoming more and more prevelant, was created due to new emissions standards for diesel trucks mostly. And if you have a newer engine that REQUIRES ULSD, you better not put regular LSD in that vehicle or you will be buying a new engine, thus making the savings pointless.


…and it was such a dismal failure that he drowned himself in the English Channel.

Modern diesels are a very different kettle of fish to the engines of a few years ago, Euro manufacturers have invested deeply in new technology and the new generation of turbo diesels are excellent all round performers ~ that’s what you’re paying the premium for. Drive one if you get the chance, you’ll see what I mean.


Wasnt there a list of high-mileage cars,most of them diesels posted on this forum last week?


You will see some coming in this year. There are two reasons for the delay. First the US buyers of mid-size and large cars are not very open to new ideas, especially diesels that the US manufacturers brought out some years ago and were very poor. Most of the US market has no idea what a modern quality automotive diesel has to offer, and somehow believe they require exotic or extensive expensive maintenance, so the manufacturers are not going to be in a hurry to bring them out.

Then there is the EPA certification process. While the hardware is available, it needs to be tweaked for the US requirements and then it needs to go through the long approval process.

Also there is the fact that diesel at this time cost more per gallon. Not may US drivers are aware that the cost difference is more than made up by the mileage difference.




VW offered them and is going to again(soon), they are called TDI’s. With the currently $1+ difference in the price of fuel they don’t make an appealing marketing case though for others.


They will be arriving on our shores within the next one to two years!

Subaru has broadly hinted that their boxer turbo-diesel will be sold in the US for the 2010 model year, and Honda appears to be ready to do the same–perhaps even a bit sooner. I am sure that the European makes that have featured diesel models for decades will be on the US market by that time or sooner.

I am currently holding off on any new car shopping until there is a good selection of diesels in the US, and I am confident that I will not have to wait for more than 1 1/2 years.


The reason you’re not seeing many diesel powered passenger cars in this country is because of the emission requirements mandated by the EPA and CARB. Most diesel engines can meet the emission requirements for particulate matter (soot), but they don’t meet the emission requirements for NOx (oxides of nitrogen) reduction. Some use urea injection (Blue-Tech) as method of reducing NOx emissions, and those are the diesel vehicles that are now being sold in this country. Other diesel engine manufacturers aren’t sure if this is the path to go for NOx reduction. Some are looking into a secondary catalyst reduction system that doesn’t require urea injection. And until any method of NOx reduction is tested and proved to reduce NOx emissions to the EPA and CARB, they cannot be sold in this country.



The refineries in this country are not the most efficient for producing diesel (and home heating oil,which is essentially the same thing). I believe they can only produce something like 25% of their product as diesel. Adding more vehicles that use this fuel will drive the price up. No panacea here.


BTW, what ever was the cause for Detroit Diesel 2-strokes failure? The inherrant efficiency and power to weight seemed, from my perspective, to be the obvious high fuel mileage power plant, for hybrids, especially. Even a 2-cycle gasoline engine of similar design would be an improvement over the Otto cycle.


I don’t think anyone could get them to meet emissions standards for a reasonable price.


The big problem with 2 cycle engines is cleaning up the emissions. Los Angeles county banned the sale of 2 cycle lawnmowers some years ago. I am still the proud owner of a 2 cycle Lawnboy mower; very powerful and durable, but not very clean.


Also , in the american market, it’s an ifrastructure issue. Diesel isn’t readily available at every street corner filling station and who ( oh heaven forbid ) wants to pull your little car in amongst the simis to fuel up ? Buyers would be more likely to utilise the option if it were as easy as a gas vehicle and that gets up to the corperate level covincing them to get it into the mainstream. This also applies to alternative fuels like e85 and hyrogen fuels, if it was normal and easy to use so many more people would choose that option.


If you want a real answer to why diesels are so popular in Europe look at the way they tax gasoline and diesel ! Huge difference !


There are a number of refinery expansions under way to make the clean diesel; the shortfall is now made up bey imports; the US imports 13% of its liquid fuels from various areas such as Europe, the Virgin Islands, the Middle East. It will probably take about 5 years for the supply/demand situation to fall into balance.


Actually, diesel is pretty readily available at a lot of street corner gasoline stations. They sometimes put the diesel pump off to one side or only on one island, but if you look you’ll find it. I think it’s Citgo that almost always has it. I’d say more than half the regular gas stations in and around my town have diesel.