Expert's Opinion

U.S. Clean Diesel Auto Sales Increase 41 Percent in August 2013, Hybrid Sales Jump 38 Percent

September 18, 2013

August was a robust month for passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. and clean diesel and hybrid cars were no exception, with diesels showing a 41.8 percent increase compared to August 2012 and hybrids experiencing a 38.1 percent increase, according to data compiled by Hybrid and Baum and Associates.

The overall U.S. car market registered a 17.0 percent increase in August 2013 compared to August 2012.

For clean diesels, August’s 41.8 percent increase was preceded by a 38.1 percent in July 2013 over July 2012.  It was the 32nd monthly increase in diesel car sales in the past 36 months, with 27 of those months registering double-digit increases.

 “This new sales information illustrates that Americans are not only accepting but embracing alternative fuel and new technology vehicles in record numbers,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.  “While there has been steady growth in both the clean diesel and hybrid markets over the past three years, this summer’s diesel and hybrid sales have been exceptional.”

This follows data compiled by R.L. Polk and Company for the Diesel Technology Forum earlier this year that showed clean diesel vehicle registrations in the U.S. had increased by more than 24 percent from 2010 through 2012, with hybrids increasing by 33 percent.

Clean Diesel Vehicles Sales Projected To Continue Growth In U.S.
“The introduction of new diesels in the U.S. market is contributing to this summer’s sales surge and virtually every market analyst projects that diesel sales will increase even more significantly as additional diesels enter the U.S. market in the coming months,” Schaeffer said. “While clean diesel cars make up about one percent of the total U.S. vehicle market, the diesel share increases to over three percent when pickup trucks and vans are included.

“While this is significantly less than the 54 percent diesel sales rate in Europe, it does indicate that Americans are taking a renewed interest in diesels.

“And this interest is expected to increase significantly in the next few years. There are currently 17 diesel cars, eight diesel pickup trucks and six diesel vans available in the U.S.  At least 19 new diesels are scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. market in the next two years,” Schaeffer said.

New Federal Mileage Regulations Will Further Increase Diesel Car Sales
Schaeffer said with higher and fluctuating fuel prices, Americans are seeking more fuel efficient cars. In addition, he said the new federal fuel efficiency standards that will require a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will also boost clean diesel auto sales, as diesel cars are 20 to 40 more fuel efficient than gasoline versions

“This is an exciting time for the diesel automakers and drivers as various auto analysts estimate clean diesel car and pickup truck sales will reach 8 to 10 percent of the total U.S. market by 2018,” Schaeffer said.

New Technology Car Sales Break 5 Percent Level in U.S.

Schaeffer said the new data also showed that the combined hybrid, diesel, and plug in vehicle sales exceeded five percent of the total U.S. market in July - the first time alternative vehicles had broken the five percent barrier, according to Hybrid

About the Diesel Technology Forum
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit

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