DETROIT — Government and auto industry officials are expressing optimism about the future of diesel-powered passenger cars and light trucks, even as an oil industry official expressed concerns about the costs of dramatically increased diesel fuel use. Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and Dept. of Energy expressed strong support for boosting diesel use during the Society of Automotive Engineers 2007 World Congress panel titled "Is Light Duty Diesel Ready for Prime Time." Diesel engines offer benefits, especially on fuel economy, getting up to 30% better mileage than gasoline engines. With EPA-mandated ultra-low sulfur diesel required last year, the cleanliness of diesel engines has been dramatically improved.
Christopher Grundler, deputy director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality and head of the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, strongly endorsed the diesel efforts. He also said diesel vehicles might be a better choice than hybrids in some instances, especially for rural drivers.
The 2005 Energy Policy Act provides tax incentives to buy clean diesel vehicles; currently just one diesel vehicle, the Mercedes E320 has been qualified by the IRS for the incentive.
Source: Detroit News