Clean Diesel Growth Opportunities

Are Diesels Better Than Hybrids?

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted June 25, 2012

According to a recent report by Pike Research, clean diesel vehicles will likely spike in popularity in the U.S. in years to come, due to anticipated fuel economy and emissions regulations.

The report predicts that sales of clean diesel vehicles will jump from 9.1 million in 2012 to 12.1 million annually by 2018. If this proves true, clean diesel vehicle sales will make up 12.4% of all light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales.

Light-duty vehicles are typically defined as those which weigh less than 8,500 pounds, with medium- and heavy-duty weighing in after that.

Although North America has historically provided less of a market for diesel sales, the Pike report suggests that this attitude will change in years to come. Because diesel vehicles have a reputation in the U.S. for being “dirty” and unreliable, the market for such vehicles throughout the last 20 years has been weak. Adding to this hardship, U.S. regulations for mono-nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) are not segregated into separate categories for gasoline and diesel, meaning that diesel vehicles typically have difficulty meeting LDV emissions standards.

Yet the Pike Research report notes that diesel experienced a slight revival in 2011, with market growth jumping 27% from 2010 numbers. The U.S. market for LDVs in general grew only 10% that same year.

Predictions from the Pike report for North America include an anticipated growth in diesel use, about 22%. Additionally, the report projects just shy of one million LDVs to be sold annually--all before 2018.

Pike notes that hybrid growth dipped slightly from 2010 to 2011, and predicts that diesels will move to the forefront of new vehicle sales in years to come, with hybrids close behind.

In the global market, the report forecasts a growth in clean diesel LDVs that will push sales from 9.1 to 12 million by 2018.