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 basic models listed in an annual publication issued by the EPA, along with a handful more certified since it was produced.
One of the two companies offering the largest number of them may come as a surprise, too.
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Adding in different drive setups (all-wheel drive versus either front- or real-wheel drive alone) and body styles (wagon or hatchback versus sedan) produces roughly 30 different vehicle configurations.
You see the start of a full list in the EPA's Fuel Economy Guide Model Year 2018 (on page 33).
The EPA's list, plus two recently certified vehicles, comprises the complete roster of light-duty models you can buy with a diesel engine that have been certified by the EPA.
2017 Jaguar XEEnlarge Photo
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).
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 the JLR roster, matching GM's total, even though it hasn't yet appeared on the EPA website and doesn't appear in the booklet either.
That would be the 2018 Land Rover Discovery—equipped with the diesel engine option—because JLR's Nathan Hoyt tells us it's making its way through certification.
It's worth noting that the sole German maker on the EPA list is BMW, which still offers the diesel 328d passenger car in three configurations and the X5 xDrive 35d crossover utility vehicle this year.
2018 BMW 5-SeriesEnlarge Photo
The 2018 BMW 540d xDrive sedan has also just been certified for sale, with all-wheel drive, making it the third BMW diesel model on the market.
Mercedes-Benz, however, which pioneered the use of Rudolf Diesel's compression-ignition engine in passenger cars 82 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 chose to remove them from its lineup.
While the EPA booklet lists two Mazda diesel models as certified—the Mazda 6 sedan and CX-5 compact crossover—those have yet to reach the market.
"We can’t comment on specific timing quite yet," Mazda's Jacob Brown told us, "but we continue to work with the EPA and California, and will make an announcement as soon as possible."
Even in Europe, the sole region where diesels take a major share of light-vehicle sales, the future of diesel looks increasingly dubious
2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFEEnlarge Photo
Real-world emission testing rules now coming into effect seem likely to have a major impact on the engines, which only last year were required to meet emission limits similar to those in effect in the U.S. since 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.
European makers, who have to decide how to pay for future powertrains, will likely pull back from diesels to focus on smaller, more efficient gasoline engines.
Diesels will remain a significant part of the mix for pickup trucks, and perhaps a small number of crossover utilities, but the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal rendered their fate in passenger cars unclear.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was first published on September 29, 2017. We updated it on January 12, 2018.