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Turbocharged Engines Are More Popular Than Ever

Even without as much help from turbodiesels

Well, it finally happened. After six years of annual increases, more than 25 percent of new vehicles in the U.S. got turbos in the 2017 model year. In fact, according to WardsAuto, 27.6 percent of new cars and light trucks left the factory with turbocharged engines.

That’s a sizable jump over the turbocharger’s 24.1-percent share in 2016. Back in 2011, though, that figure was only 10.7 percent, and before then, turbos typically carried between 4.5 percent and 6.6 percent of the market.

Additionally, WardsAuto‘s report left out twin-charged engines, engines that have both a supercharger and a turbocharger. Those actually lost market share this year, dropping from 0.2 percent in 2016 to 0.1 percent in 2017. Supercharged engines have also remained relatively niche, never getting more than a 0.5 percent share of the U.S. market.

Interestingly, the turbocharger has continued to grow in popularity despite the ongoing diesel scandal that took many U.S.-market turbodiesels out of the equation. Instead, the growth of turbochargers has mostly been the result of engine downsizing and automakers’ attempts to improve fuel economy across the board. Some reports indicate the age of engine downsizing has come to an end, but, at least for now, it looks like turbochargers are here to stay.

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