Internet Chatter: Diesels Are on the Rise

If chatter on the Internet is any indication of market trends, then clean diesel technology will become a strong contender in the world of green motoring. In a report entitled, “Shaping the Future of Automotive Engine Technology,” BrandIntel, a market research firm, analyzed the volume and sentiment of online discussions about eco-friendly transportation. The firm concluded that U.S. consumers are starting to see diesel as a viable alternative to hybrid and gas-powered vehicles.

“Diesel has been under the radar. Now we are seeing new diesel technology, including clean diesel, the fact that consumers can use biodiesel, and new players coming into the space, all of it is creating a bit of buzz and excitement,” said Vince Bucciachio, BrandIntel auto analyst.

Automakers leading the diesel charge—Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi, Honda, and BMW—should be encouraged by the online buzz about diesel engines, which might finally be ditching its stigma as dirty, loud and unrefined. According to the study, Mercedes Benz has made the largest leaps forward in terms of Internet buzz. This is largely based on Benz’s Bluetec clean diesel technology, which is viewed as a market leader. The company will be making its biggest push with Bluetec in the upcoming year when it expands distribution of its E320 Bluetec sedan, and rolls out three new diesel-powered SUVs, all of which will be available in 50 states.

The BrandIntel study found several statistics that indicate diesel’s emergence into the public consciousness, including:

  • Diesel discussion share increased by 75 percent this year compared with 2006.
  • Mercedes Benz’ discussion share increased relative to diesel engine market leader Volkswagen. Benz chat went up 106 percent, while Volkswagen dropped by 46 percent.
  • While chatter about gasoline engines decreased by 10 percent from 2006 to 2007, talk about diesel grew from 8 percent to 14 percent.

Modern diesel power offers advantages–such as environmental friendliness, better fuel efficiency, and higher low-end torque—when compared with gasoline engines. Diesel fuel costs can be higher than gasoline, and emissions generally remain higher than hybrid cars. Nonetheless, the study from BrandIntel shows that public acceptance of diesel power is growing in the United States. “We will see substantial gains [in Internet chatter] for both diesel and hybrid," said Alan Dean, vice president/business innovation at BrandIntel. "But the one that will look more surprising to some people is diesel."


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  • Joe Duncan

    The best car I`ve ever owned. Bought it new in `06. 48 mpg. Very little noise, lots of HP. Will never go back to gasoline. No soot either!

  • Rudolf


    Please explain your ‘no soot’
    (it is not visable)
    And is your dieselfuel
    No-Sulphur like in Europe?

  • Dave Cascino

    I’m surprised there aren’t more plans to build diesel hybrids and I’m curious what kind of mileage would they be capable of delivering. Is there some fundamental engineering problem that is forcing a “one or the other” choice?

  • BB

    Biggest obstacle to diesel hybrids is cost. See this article:

  • Neil

    Diesel + Hybrid would make a good match technologically, but not financially. Traditionally diesels are a bit slow “off the start” and an electric motor could definitely fill in that gap nicely. As it is, you often see turbos on diesels being used to remedy the slowness off the line.

    Cost is the big issue because a diesel engine adds a couple thousand (or more) dollars to the production cost of a car (vs. a gasoline engine). Add the cost of adding a hybrid powertrain, which is typically a couple of thousand dollars, and then you are looking at a starting MSRP that is at least 4 grand more than a regular gasoline version car. This is too much for most people to justify, especially on a smaller or less expensive car. If the diesel + hybrid one-two punch does appear in the marketplace, it will probably be on a vehicle with a high MSRP to start with or on a premium brand where the price markup is substantial adn the 4K+ difference is not so noticeable compared to the overall price of the car.

    I hope this is helpful info for you.


  • Eduardo Maio

    …and forgot other emissions that are far worse then CO2. CO2 can be captured, particles and NOx can’t.

    What do you prefer, acid rain, smog and lung cancer or temperature rise?

    I dont want any of that so I would prefer to see more investment on fuel cells and not on diesel.

    About the mpg, with the new TFSI engines you can have the same mpg, it just shows that if you put the same effort in technology in a otto engine it will outperform a diesel engine.

  • Stan Smart

    I think we’re still at the “edge” of several promising technologies and combinations (“hybrid”) thereof.

    My main dislike of diesels is noise and roughness. Cleaner burning fuel that the US is mandating is making for soot-free diesel. I am not impressed with a $60,000 Euoro-diesel that shakes and “rattles” … even though newer models are improved, who would spend that level of $$$ for a non-quiet/ un-smooth ride?

  • TD

    Diesels will produce more smog forming pollution than gas engines. Plugin gas hybrids are the best option for now.

  • Andreas

    Americans, what u see so far as Diesel is very old tec. (mostly because of the poor quality of Diesel in the US) You cant get all the quality Diesel have in Europe with 2nd class fuel. I do own two Diesels (Rabbit TDI and Benz C220 CDI) and there is no shaking and no noise INSIDE that is much different from a gasoline vehicle. With Bluetec added the NOx Problem is gone. With particle filters (standard on a lot ofe European cars) the smog problem is limeted. So upgrade to the best avail tec and try it!

  • Joe

    Everyone seems bent on the emissions that diesels are emitting… Biodiesel has NO harmful emissions and within the next 2-3 years will be available everywhere normal diesel is sold and will be plentiful to the point it will be cheaper than normal diesel. Granted not all diesels will be able to run on more than a 5% biodiesel blend without modification, but that will change. Chrysler alone is certifying their Jeep CRD to run on B20 (20% biodiesel). So, is there complete justification for the negative view on the upcoming diesels?

  • Jack

    Diesel particulate matter is extremely dangerous because of its size and ability to block lung alveoli. (PM0.1-google it!) However, I don’t know if “clean diesel” is that worse or better than gasoline cars in terms of PM. I know the sulfur content of the fuel is just as important as the car itself. Personally I like CNG as its cheap, burns the cleanest.
    On a pure efficiency basis its obviously better than non-hybrid gasoline vehicles.

  • LM

    Not only do the upcoming Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel vehicles not produce more “smog-forming pollution” than gas engines, they produce significantly less, mainly because there are virtually no evaporative VOC emissions associated with diesels.

    As far as PM emissions are concerned, the current generation of diesel vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with diesel particulate filters which have been shown to reduce exhaust PM levels to below those of gas vehicles.

  • Elvis

    Some of these Views on diesel are right out of 1970’s. The dirty truck diesel is not what the new cars are about.

    The new VW diesel will meet the most stringent clean air standards… Tier II BIN 5 Look into Popular Mechanics article. It won’t even require UREA. That makes larger engines burn clearner.

  • Jakub Kudlacz

    Effective June 1, 2006, refiners and importers nationwide are now required to ensure that at least 80 percent of the volume of the highway diesel fuel they produce or import is ULSD-compliant.

    The Audi 3.0 TDI engine delivers fuel economy levels up to 14.5 l/100km with a CO2 mass emission of only 282 g/km.

    Starting in 2008 Audi will bring 3.0 TDI to Q7 and new A4, it is also expecting to put it into new A5 (at least I hope they do).

    A hybrid TDI could probably give you between 70-90 mpg and you may have to pay 5000$ more for that technology.

    Let’s do some math.
    I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix and get average 21mpg.
    Based on
    it costs me 2142$ to drive 15K miles a year. (I live in CA so its more like 2356$ since I pay about 3.30$ for each gallon of gas)

    If I had hybrid TDI, and pay same for gas or bit more lets say 3.45$ for diesel. Let’s say I will take the average of hybrid TDI so fuel consumption would be 80 mpg. My yearly cost of driving 15K miles a year would be 646.87$. I would save 1709.16$ a year. So within 3 years I made my money back.

    My next purchase will be a car with TDI. Audi just introduced a pototype of A3 in Europe with Hybrid TDI technology.

  • Mike

    Simple economics…someone once mentioned the problem with diesels always overlooked: if more people used diesel, the greater demand want would raise its price.
    Coupled with the smaller yet still existant price premium for diesel, the advantage of diesel over hybrid would be erased quickly.

    But I do admit, hybrid TDI is way cool.

  • front bumper

    With all of the alternative Diesel fuels on the horizon, why not a hybrid diesel? If we can get diesel from other sources, isn’t this the way to go? Where else can we get gasoline? I am for a Diesel plug-in.