2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel, first drive, Teaneck, NJ, Aug 2017Enlarge Photo
With the permanent end of diesel sales in the U.S. by three VW Group brands—Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche—the number of diesel passenger cars and light trucks has plummeted.
In fact, for the 2018 model year thus far, there are only 11. One of the two companies offering the largest number of them may come as a surprise, too.
That number could rise, if Fiat Chrysler obtains EPA certification for its EcoDiesel versions of the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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Until then, however, those 12 vehicles comprise the sole light-duty models you can buy with a diesel engine that's been certified by the EPA.
Eleven of the vehicles are listed in an Automotive News piece published Thursday (registration may be required).
It notes that General Motors offers five diesel models: one passenger car (the Chevrolet Cruze), two crossover utilities (Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain), and two mid-size pickup trucks (Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon).
2017 Jaguar XEEnlarge Photo
The piece also lists four separate models from a somewhat unexpected maker: Jaguar Land Rover.
That company now has two passenger sedans, its compact XE and mid-size XF, and the Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar certified with its 2.0-liter turbodiesel-4 engine.
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We'd add a fifth model to that list, even though it hasn't yet appeared on the EPA website: the 2018 Land Rover Discovery, because we're driving that vehicle equipped with the diesel engine option.
It's worth noting that the sole German maker on the list is BMW, which still offers the diesel 328d passenger car and X5 xDrive 35d crossover utility vehicle this year.
2015 BMW 328d sedan and Sports WagonEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz, however, which pioneered the use of Rudolf Diesel's compression-ignition engine in passenger cars 81 years ago, sells no diesel vehicles in the U.S. this year.
With low fuel prices persisting in the U.S. and sophisticated exhaust-emission aftertreatment systems boosting the cost of a diesel luxury vehicle by four figures, the company has removed them from its lineup.
Even in Europe, the sole region where diesels take a major share of light-vehicle sales, the future of diesel looks increasingly dubious.
Real-world emission testing rules now coming into effect seem likely to have a major impact on the engines, which are only now required to meet the same emission limits that came into effect in the U.S. on January 1, 2008.
Moreover, the falling cost of lithium-ion battery cells and the aggressive electric-car sales requirements just set by China will likely boost electric-car production radically over the next decade.
It now seems likely that European makers, who have to decide how to pay for future powertrains, will pull back from diesel engines to focus on smaller, more efficient gasoline versions.