Is Diesel Already Losing Momentum?

Automobile Staff

According to, the average price of a used diesel pickup truck has fallen $5900 since January. This is monumental since diesel trucks used to command huge price premiums over used gas-powered trucks. The average price of a gallon of diesel fuel recently shot up to $4.80 per gallon, which is 80 cents per gallon more than regular gasoline. At this time last year, diesel fuel averaged 36 cents per gallon less than gas.

Diesel-powered cars and trucks typically go 15 to 20 percent farther on a gallon of fuel than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but that won't account for the difference in the cost of fuel along with the several-thousand-dollar option for a diesel engine over the life of a vehicle. Some people are predicting the new wave of diesel-powered cars, trucks, and SUVs will be dead before the vehicles even go on sale due to fuel costs. I'm not so sure this will happen.

Don't get me wrong, the take rate will not be anywhere near the 50 percent, or more, seen in some European countries, but I think we will see around 15 percent of the market turn to diesel. The buyers won't just see diesel as an economy option; some will use diesel for a performance option, for others the extra economy will just mean fewer trips to the pump, and still others might decide on a diesel for the ease of burning bio-fuels. Others will just prefer the extra torque for daily driving. With a diesel, even an economy car can feel quite quick.

What do you think? Is diesel stillborn, or will the market stabilize and still allow for a reasonable percentage of the national fleet to burn oil? Does it even matter?


Having diesel trucks in my family growing up in Pittsburgh was a given, so i know first-hand the benefits of running oil burners. Not only were diesels great to mash the pedal and feel the torque push you back in your seat, the gas mileage (in the 70s/80s who cared) wasn't even a thought, it was the engine of choice for construction workers, especially those hauling/towing a load in the winter in the western Pennsylvania hills. My brother and i used our diesel trucks for additional income, getting people out of snow-banks (getting to them was half the fun), pushing, towing, you name it. Regular gassers didn't have the oomph in the winter/mud/muck to get it done. Our country depends on diesel trucks to move commercial medium/large vehicles that bring us our goods all over the country, until there's a viable engine/fuel combo that beats diesel, it will be around for a long time. Now only if the dunderheads in Wash DC can come up with an effective energy policy and program for our country's long-term sustained growth, all anyone is doing is pontificating, spinning their wheels (ha!), and getting their 5min sound-bite for their constituents back home as if they're really doing something constructive.

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