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United States of Diesel

Diesel sales are exploding across the USA! It’s the...

Sep 22, 2014
Photographers: Manufacturers
According to the Diesel Technology Forum, diesel car registrations are up 30 percent since 2010, while overall vehicle sales only increased by 3.6 percent during the same period. Along with strong sales of diesel cars and SUVs, diesel pickups continue to post strong numbers across the country. The analysis shown here is based on data regarding the 2013 registration statistics of all passenger vehicles—cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans—compiled by IHS Automotive (formerly R.K. Polk & Company) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Diesel Technology Forum commissioned the study to evaluate trends in the sales of diesels and hybrids, while identifying trends based on geography and comparing 2013 sales to previous years.
Diesel Sales Surge
So, why are diesel sales so strong? "Clean diesel vehicles are 30 percent more fuel-efficient than gasoline vehicles and do not require compromises in vehicle performance, driving patterns, or utility," according to Allen Schaffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. This acceptance is likely aided by improvements in public perception of diesel vehicles thanks to technologies like relatively quiet common-rail fueling systems and exhaust treatments that have virtually eliminated visible smoke emissions from tailpipes. In addition to the advanced technology, Schaeffer says, "Clean diesels also deliver competitive or superior total cost-of-ownership compared to other fuel-efficient technologies." Diesel is also now widely available at more than half of fuel stations across the country, according to the Diesel Technology Forum.

Fastest Growth of Diesel Passenger Vehicle Sales
(Cars, SUVs, Pickups, and Vans)
  State Percent Increase
1 North Dakota 24.12%
2 District of Columbia 15.94%
3 Illinois 13.62%
4 Delaware 10.21%
5 Idaho 8.55%
6 New Jersey 8.54%
7 Ohio 8.33%
8 South Dakota 8.01%
9 Texas 8.00%
10 Arizona 7.68%

Diesel vs. Hybrid Sales
(Cars, SUVs, Pickups, and Vans)
  State Diesels Hybrids Total
1 California 609,212 698,560 1,307,772
2 Texas 837,426 153,557 990,983
3 Florida 314,228 150,885 465,113
4 Washington 245,306 103,429 348,735
5 New York 181,914 131,962 313,876
6 Pennsylvania 226,574 86,499 313,073
7 Illinois 185,349 110,614 295,963
8 North Carolina 197,305 77,943 275,248
9 Georgia 189,018 76,168 265,186
10 Ohio 191,924 69,739 261,663
National Totals   7,068,439 2,826,885 9,895,324
Photo 5/31   |   2014 Dodge Ram 3500 HD Front Three Quarter Trailer
Fast Growth
The study suggests that Illinois, Arizona, and California are showing the fastest growth in diesel car and SUV registrations. Illinois is up by more than 25 percent, Arizona is up by more than 15 percent, and California has more than 11 percent growth when 2012 sales are compared to 2013. Western states have the highest percentage of diesels; Wyoming leads the pack with 10.8 percent of all registered vehicles (pickups, cars, vans, and SUVs) being diesel-powered. Montana is not far behind with diesels accounting for 8.1 percent of all vehicle registrations, and Idaho with 6.9 percent. As you'd probably expect, pickup truck sales continue to far outnumber the sales of diesel cars and SUVs. The figures show diesel pickups are gaining popularity in the Northeast, with five of the top 10 states for growth in diesel pickup sales being: Delaware, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Highest Percentage ofTotal Diesel Vehicle Sales
(Cars, SUVs, Pickups, and Vans)
  State Percent Total Vehicles
1 Wyoming 10.80% 66,362
2 Montana 8.10% 97,454
3 Idaho 6.90% 104,306
4 Alaska 6.70% 43,548
5 North Dakota 6.40% 46,833
6 South Dakota 6.00% 53,444
7 Oregon 5.70% 188,976
8 Utah 5.60% 131,385
9 New Mexico 5.10% 91,352
10 Colorado 4.30% 198,906
National   2.80% 7,068,439

Fastest Diesel Growth
(Cars and SUVs)
  State Percent Increase 2012 - 2013
1 Illinois 25.08%
2 Arizona 15.56%
3 California 11.35%
4 North Dakota 11.35%
5 Delaware 10.98%
6 Mississippi 10.70%
7 Texas 9.40%
8 Idaho 9.27%
9 Wyoming 9.00%
10 Arkansas 8.68%

Total Diesel Sales
(Cars and SUVs)
  State Total
1 California 93,654
2 Texas 70,311
3 Florida 53,061
4 Pennsylvania 36,373
5 Washington 33,940
6 New York 32,478
7 Illinois 31,776
8 North Carolina 29,229
9 Virginia 27,237
10 New Jersey 25,224
National Total   833,324
Diesel vs. Hybrid
In 2013, diesel registrations increased by 410,040 units nationally, while hybrid sales increased by 531,385. The numbers also show diesel sales were up 30 percent from 2010 to 2013, while hybrid sales increased by 64.5 percent during the same time period. The Diesel Technology Forum points out that in 2013 there were just 23 diesel car and SUV models for sale compared to 50 hybrid models buyers could choose from. They also noted that manufacturers have announced plans for more than 10 new diesel vehicles to go on sale during the next three years. Seven million diesel passenger vehicles are currently registered in the U.S., while hybrids account for just 2.8 million vehicles on the road, according to the IHS/Polk data.
Photo 9/31   |   2014 Toyota Prius V Three Quarters Front View 001
The Future of Diesel
Diesel registrations currently account for just 2.8 percent of all passenger vehicle sales (cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs), but 10.6 percent of all pickup registrations. Meanwhile, in Europe, where emissions standards are not as strict, diesels already account for 50 percent of all passenger auto sales. According to Schaeffer, the sales of clean diesel vehicles are “poised to take off, as evidenced by the number of clean diesels being introduced in the U.S market.” He adds, “There will be an estimated 60 diesel vehicles available by 2017. As a result, we could see the diesel market in the U.S. reach 10 percent by 2020 as Americans learn more about the proven real-world efficiency benefits and long-term value of the new clean diesel technology.” We sure hope he’s right!
Diesel vehicles are the most popular in Western states. Wyoming leads the way, with diesels accounting for 10.8 percent of all passenger vehicle sales. Montana is Second with 8.1 percent, Idaho is Third with 6.9 percent, Alaska is Fourth with 6.7 percent, and North Dakota is Fifth with 6.4 percent.
Photo 19/31   |   2015 Ford F 350 Super Duty Front View

Fastest Diesel Growth
(Pickups)
  State Percent Increase 2012 - 2013
1 North Dakota 24.03%
2 Vermont 11.17%
3 Illinois 8.62%
4 Idaho 8.05%
5 Delaware 7.86%
6 New Hampshire 7.74%
7 South Dakota 7.72%
8 Massachusetts 7.54%
9 Texas 7.14%
10 Rhode Island 7.10%

Total Diesel Sales
(Pickups)
  State Total
1 Texas 747,760
2 California 478,847
3 Florida 243,887
4 Washington 202,384
5 Colorado 174,332
6 Pennsylvania 170,274
7 Oregon 161,007
8 North Carolina 159,679
9 Georgia 157,332
10 Ohio 157,005
National Total   5,891,198

Highest Percentage of Diesel Sales
(Pickups)
  State Percent Total
1 Wyoming 24.20% 63,524
2 Utah 19.70% 119,290
3 Montana 18.70% 90,397
4 Idaho 18.20% 96,912
5 Oregon 16.90% 161,007
6 South Dakota 16.90% 49,551
7 North Dakota 16.80% 44,280
8 Alaska 15.30% 38,712
9 Colorado 14.90% 174,332
10 Nevada 14.50% 65,897
National   10.60% 5,891,189

Highest Percentage of Diesel and Hybrid Registrations
(Cars, SUVs, Pickups, and Vans)
  State Diesels Hybrids Percent
1 Wyoming 66,362 3,142 11.27%
2 Montana 97,454 7,880 8.79%
3 Idaho 104,306 11,229 7.63%
4 Oregon 188,976 59,465 7.44%
5 Alaska 43,548 5,020 7.35%
6 North Dakota 46,833 2,580 6.76%
7 Utah 131,385 21,772 6.50%
8 South Dakota 53,444 5,003 6.44%
9 New Mexico 91,352 17,968 6.07%
10 Washington 245,306 103,429 5.76%

Photo 23/31   |   Nissan Titan With Cummins Diesel
New Diesels Coming Soon
2015 Model Year
Audi A3 Sportback TDI
Audi A3 TDI
Audi A4 TDI
VW Golf Sportwagen TDI
Mazda MAZDA6 Skyactiv-D
Nissan Titan
Porsche Macan Diesel
2016 Model Year
Chevrolet Colorado
GMC Canyon
Toyota Tundra

Photo 24/31   |   2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Side Profile

We used AAA.com to examine diesel fuel prices across the U.S. and see what people were paying in the three most-populated cities at the end of July. In New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, you could buy diesel for about $4.40 per gallon. That was not the lowest price—but far better than the $4.80 you could end up paying just a few blocks away from these fuel stations.

Meanwhile, in three states where diesel sales are rapidly growing, it wasn’t hard to find diesel for less than $3.75 per gallon. This was also the case when we checked prices in Texas, Delaware, and South Dakota, where diesel vehicle sales are strong. We also found similar pricing in other diesel-trending states, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, and Georgia.

To find the lowest diesel prices, just log on to aaa.com and click on “Local Gas Prices” (yeah, we know the link has the g-word), then click on “Search Your Local Area.” The AAA TripTik Travel Planner will show you the latest prices in your hometown or wherever your travel plans are taking you.

Photo 28/31   |   TripTik Travel Planer Sioux Falls SD
Photo 29/31   |   TripTik Travel Planer New York
Photo 30/31   |   TripTik Travel Planer Los Angeles California
Photo 31/31   |   TripTik Travel Planer Dallas Texas

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