Consumers are coming around to cars like the VW Beetle ... Consumers are coming around to cars like the VW Beetle TDI (VW).
Remember the old Mercedes-Benz diesels that sounded like the title car from the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?" They were loud, slow and spewed black, sooty smoke that would make a career smoker gag.

Those clanking old diesels had two big advantages: They returned excellent MPGs and were nearly indestructible.

Fast forward a few decades. Diesels are quiet, clean-burning and refined. They are also quite powerful thanks to efficient turbochargers and provide gobs or torque. They also still provide great MPGs and are still nearly indestructible.

While Europeans have embraced these ultra-powerful, long-lasting engines, Americans are just starting to catch on.

Clean-diesel sales were up 35 percent in the first quarter of 2012 year over year, an encouraging sign, considering that diesel sales were up 27 percent year over year in 2011.

Experts say higher fuel prices across the board are leading consumers toward the fuel-efficient vehicles. Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, says, "I expect clean-diesel sales to increase further as several new diesel cars are introduced in the U.S. market in the next year."

It's about time. Modern diesel engines are on par with hybrids in terms of fuel efficiency but are more powerful. They last a long time. Many consumers expect to get more than 200,000 miles out of their diesel engines.

Efficiency and longevity are just a few of the reasons why owning a diesel may be a smart move. Here's a few more: You can tow with a diesel engine; you can't with most hybrids.

Diesel technology has been around for decades, and is tried and true. There's nothing that stops many diesel drivers from going 600 miles or more on a single tank of gas.

If gasoline prices remain high, we could see the beginning of a golden age of diesel in America.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love my 2012 TDI PASSAT!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      very weak analysis. Hoping for more from headline.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have you seen the price of diesel lately?
      • 3 Years Ago
      owner of a 2005 Beetle TDi here. Despite the cost of diesel fuel the VW diesel has saved us so much money on operating costs. They are ultra-reliable and aside from a $75 oil change every 10k miles are almost maintenance free. This was our first new VW and my wife says, "there will never be a time in our life when we don't have a VW TDi parked in the driveway". I don't think she's looking intop future EV technology much but I could easily see our little beetle turning out 300k miles. It's rolled 150k without any issues.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Doesn't hurt that diesel is heavily tax-advantaged in Europe, while either tax-neutral or tax-disadvantaged in the US. Between the added expense of a diesel motor (for robustness and smaller production numbers) and a higher cost-per-gallon that nearly negates diesel's efficiency advantage, and the relative scarcity of diesel pumps in the US (particularly in urban areas), I don't really see a huge uptake in adoption here. Which is a shame IMO. If I needed a pickup truck, I'd prefer a small-block V8 diesel, like the one GM recently developed and then put on a shelf.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some of us Americans caught on to diesel engines quite some time ago. The question is, will American car makers start offering a diesel option in cars, or will they let the Germans (Audi, BMW, Volkswagen) capture the market, then run and play catch up? Or will they, for once, get out in front and respond to customer demand? For decades they've relied solely on American's sense of patriotism to sell cars, even if those cars were rubbish. That's why the number one car maker in terms of sales has been Toyota. I'm not trying to diss the American auto industry, I just wish they'd listen.
      CelloMom On Cars
      • 3 Years Ago
      Thanks Lauren for spreading the word! Since the arrival of ULSD "Clean" diesel the game has indeed changed. Diesel engines are now cleaner than comparable gasoline ones on all emissions except NOx: it really has come a long way. And diesels are strong, long-lasting engines: wasn't it a diesel Mercedes that did nearly 3 million miles? Good news for otiswild and all other diesel fans: _many_ carmakers, including Volvo and Ford, offer their models with frugal diesel engines. They just don't sell them in the US. Some of those have twice the fuel efficiency of the same models you can buy here. So ask your dealer for them! (why put up with the libelous old saw that "ALL Americans want BIG cars with BIG engines"?).
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM truck plant in Flint ,Mi. recently celebrated 1,000.000 miles on a 2006 Chev 3500 /Duramax/Allison equipped truck, the truck was used to tow travel trailers, pretty impressive
      • 3 Years Ago
      I drive a 10 Jetta TDI. I love my diesel vehicle. I got it new when diesel prices was $2.86. In the year and half since i bought I have see Diesel prices increase $1.25 in my area. I choose diesel for the fuel and getting great gas mileage. Best choice I have made and I will continue to by diesel vehicles. I avg. 36 mpg. I also have gotten 49.9 and a range of 715 miles.. Also, you can't smell diesel or black smoke like the previous models. People think diesel are worst for the environment but there not.
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