Audi Wants Legislative Level Playing Field For Diesel Compared To Hybrids And EVs

Audi feels the government has favored hybrids and EVs compared and would like to see clean diesel get the same treatment.

A new Harris Interactive poll conducted on behalf of Audi of America reveals that a majority of American drivers would support government initiatives aimed at spurring clean diesel vehicle sales in the U.S.

The study was conducted in September, 2013 among 2,041 U.S. adults, among whom 1,629 identified themselves as regular drivers, driving their own personal vehicle at least once a week or more often.

Interestingly, survey results show that 65 percent of American drivers would be in support of lawmakers’ efforts to make diesel more accessible to the American public; and 66 percent of drivers think the government should offer a tax incentive on clean diesel vehicles.

“Government has set very rigorous standards for future fuel economy, and we believe that clean diesel is perfectly positioned to help us achieve those goals. But, we argue that diesel needs an even playing field set by state and federal governments,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Audi believes there are a variety of viable alternative fuel solutions, including electric, but diesel is readily available today. If you take away the disincentives that state and federal taxation policy create, we potentially could see a big uptick in clean diesel vehicles sales.”

According to the survey, government’s bet on electric vehicles viewed as unfair by American drivers with a majority (57 percent) of American drivers feel the government has unfairly placed its bets in favor of hybrids and electrics over clean diesel vehicles.

Justifying its stand, Audi added that unlike electric vehicles, with clean diesel there is no need for driver behavior change, except to move from one pump to the other, and no need for big infrastructure changes.

“I do believe that diesel owners should be included in alternative energy tax incentives. Most diesel owners buy the car for the increased gas mileage, and we deserve to be rewarded for our change in behavior in using an alternate fuel just as hybrid drivers are,” said Stephanie Lewis, Audi TDI clean diesel owner since 2010.

Survey results also showed that 59 percent of 18-34 year old drivers said that if the cost of diesel fuel was on par with gasoline, they would purchase a diesel-powered vehicle. Conversely, only 39 percent of those 45+ said they would purchase a diesel car over a gas car if there was fuel price parity.

“One of the reasons we are seeing this disparity between age groups may be because younger generations don’t have the same misconceptions about diesel as older generations,” added Keogh. “The objective is to reward efficiency, and diesel is an efficient alternative available today. We need to level the playing field.”

According to Audi, clean diesel delivers up to 30 percent better fuel economy and 12 to 30 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines.

Of course, to commission such a study, Audi has stakes in diesel vehicles; Audi offers its 2014 A8L, A7, A6, Q7 and Q5 models with its TDI diesel engines.