Electric vehicles are already subject to reams of federal and local incentives to encourage the market's growth, and now Volkswagen wants similar incentives for the sale of clean diesel cars.

The German automaker feels regulators aren't doing enough to encourage diesel sales, "one of the greenest choices" as Anna Schneider, vice president for industry and government relations at VW Group of America, told a diesel forum on Tuesday.

According to The Detroit News, VW wants the U.S. government to include diesel on its 'all of the above' strategy for greening the country's roads. With several states imposing extra taxes on diesel and federal taxes six cents higher than that of gasoline, Schneider says diesel is being penalized, when it should be incentivized.

The latest batch of diesels doesn't just perform better than ever and feel more refined than ever, but they're cleaner and more efficient too. Diesel is still relatively small on U.S. roads--and not as widely available as gasoline, among other issues--but many see it as an effective way of reducing fuel costs and oil use, particularly given diesel's efficiency on long highway journeys.

America's perception of diesels as smokey and noisy has held them back for many years, and until the last few years availability of the cars themselves has been relatively low.

There are also worries that the added cost of modern technology to improve their efficiency and cleanliness could price the cars out of a market, particularly as regular gasoline cars are improving and hybrids offer better performance.

Among changes suggested at the forum were revisions to the EPA combined mileage numbers, by switching the current 55 percent city, 45 percent highway mix around. With diesels at their best in highway driving, a highway-biased test would improve the combined gas mileage for diesels alone, making them look better in relation to other vehicles.

Also suggested was allowing automakers extra credits for producing diesels to meet 2025's 54.5 mpg CAFE standards. Schneider argues that changes assisting diesels would come at zero extra cost but boost sales.

The EPA's counterargument is that incentivizing diesel doesn't encourage automakers to move towards technologies with zero or near-zero greenhouse gas emissions, and that diesel does not significantly reduce CO2 in like-for-like vehicles.

It also believes there is no significant barrier to consumer acceptance of diesels right now--thus no incentives are required.

Do you think diesels should be incentivized? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


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