The fallout from the Volkswagen diesel scandal has cost the fuel plenty of not-so-great headlines, but the idea that diesel will soon die off entirely for passenger vehicles simply isn't true.
A report in The Car Connection compiled the proof to show diesel is far from its deathbed. There remain more diesel vehicles on sale today than there have been in recent years.
The likely resurgence of diesel can be credited to automakers sorting out how to meet upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements, which call for an average of 54.5 mpg from new cars and trucks (or about 38 mpg on window stickers).
Diesel powertrains are one way to post some lofty fuel-economy numbers. The question is which types of vehicles those engines will be used in.
While Volkswagen is now starting to sell modified 2015 TDI vehicles—the last new diesels it will likely sell in the U.S. for years—one maker have swooped in to fill the void left by VW's now-defunct TDI diesel passenger cars.
Chevrolet has put the 37-mpg Cruze Diesel compact sedan on sale, hoping to grab some of the market Volkswagen is walking away from.
2017 Chevrolet Cruze DieselEnlarge Photo
The numbers are more plentiful in crossover utilites, which have become the hot seller in this era of low fuel prices. Mazda is finally ready to show off its 2018 CX-5 crossover utility fitted with a SkyActiv diesel engine.
General Motors takes a shot here too, with the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and 2018 GMC Terrain: both will be offered with a 1.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine as an option.
That same engine powers the Cruze diesel, though the Terrain and Equinox may not crack the coveted 50-mpg highway mark, simply due to their added weight and higher wind resistance due to a larger size.
Light-duty trucks, such as the Chevrolet Colorado and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, also continue to make gains in the market and have been well received by customers.
Point the magnifying glass at the luxury automotive sector and diesel is alive and well there, too.
BMW is readying new diesel offerings for the 5- and 3-Series. Ditto for the X5 crossover as well.
2017 BMW 5-Series TouringEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz, however, seems to be waffling on whether it will continue with diesels in the U.S., citing lower customer demand and the costs of certifying what will likely be very low-volume models.
A new entrant, British luxury maker Jaguar Land Rover, has gone on the record to defend the fuel.
A company executive said definitely, "the complete automotive industry needs diesel to fulfill legislative requirements."
All of this explains why carmakers feel that diesel fuel is still an absolute requirement to meet fuel-economy rules in light-duty trucks, including not only pickups but also increasingly popular crossover utilities.
Death? Hardly. Diesel has quietly held onto a niche in the new-vehicle market, despite the VW scandal.
You might even consider it a new lease on life.