Diesel engines have been widely accepted in Europe for decades, mainly because the oil-burners are much more efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Here in the U.S., however, the loud and smelly performance of diesels in the '70s and '80s has left a bad taste that obviously hasn't gone away. Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR quotes a study by a "well respected" market research firm that says car buyers here in the states still aren't ready for diesel engines.
When given the choice of hybrids, diesels, hydrogen fuel cells, and biofuels, only six percent of those surveyed thought diesel was a viable fuel source for the future. Furthermore, the same people in the study were under the impression that gasoline-powered cars achieved better fuel economy than diesels. Almost half also thought that diesels were still loud and odorous.
The good news is that the American public has yet to see the diesel marketing campaigns from VW, Honda, Mercedes, and others. If that bearded guy can sell 50 million tubs of Oxy Clean, we're pretty sure our nation's auto consumers will give diesel another chance, especially if it comes with the promise of 50 mpg.