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August Saw Record Jump in U.S. Clean Diesel, Hybrid Car Sales

While August was a robust month for passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. — registering a 17 percent increase compared to August 2012 — there were remarkable jumps in sales of clean diesel and hybrid cars, with diesels showing a 41.8 percent increase and hybrids experiencing a 38.1 percent increase compared to this time last year, according to data compiled by Hybrid Cars.com and Baum and Associates.For clean diesels, August’s 41.8 percent increase was preceded by a 38.1 percent in July 2013 over July 2012. It was the 32nd monthly increase in diesel car sales in the past 36 months, with 27 of those months registering double-digit increases.

While August was a robust month for passenger vehicle sales in the U.S. — registering a 17 percent increase compared to August 2012 — there were remarkable jumps in sales of clean diesel and hybrid cars, with diesels showing a 41.8 percent increase and hybrids experiencing a 38.1 percent increase compared to this time last year, according to data compiled by Hybrid Cars.com and Baum and Associates.

For clean diesels, August’s 41.8 percent increase was preceded by a 38.1 percent in July 2013 over July 2012. It was the 32nd monthly increase in diesel car sales in the past 36 months, with 27 of those months registering double-digit increases.

“This new sales information illustrates that Americans are not only accepting but embracing alternative fuel and new technology vehicles in record numbers,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “While there has been steady growth in both the clean diesel and hybrid markets over the past three years, this summer’s diesel and hybrid sales have been exceptional.”

This follows data compiled by R.L. Polk and Company for the Diesel Technology Forum earlier this year that showed clean diesel vehicle registrations in the U.S. had increased by more than 24 percent from 2010 through 2012, with hybrids increasing by 33 percent. Schaeffer said the new data also showed that the combined hybrid, diesel, and plug-in vehicle sales exceeded five percent of the total U.S. market in July - the first time alternative vehicles had broken the five percent barrier, according to HybridCars.com.

Clean Diesel Vehicles Sales Projected To Continue Growth In U.S.

“The introduction of new diesels in the U.S. market is contributing to this summer’s sales surge and virtually every market analyst projects that diesel sales will increase even more significantly as additional diesels enter the U.S. market in the coming months,” Schaeffer said. “While clean diesel cars make up about one percent of the total U.S. vehicle market, the diesel share increases to over three percent when pickup trucks and vans are included. While this is significantly less than the 54 percent diesel sales rate in Europe, it does indicate that Americans are taking a renewed interest in diesels.

Schaeffer went on to say that U.S. interest in cleaner vehicles is expected to increase significantly in the next few years: “There are currently 17 diesel cars, eight diesel pickup trucks and six diesel vans available in the U.S. At least 19 new diesels are scheduled to be introduced in the U.S. market in the next two years,” he said.

New Federal Mileage Regulations Will Further Increase Diesel Car Sales

Schaeffer said higher and fluctuating fuel prices are one reason Americans are seeking more fuel-efficient cars. In addition, he said the new federal fuel-efficiency standards that will require a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will also boost clean diesel auto sales, as diesel cars are 20-40 percent more fuel efficient than gasoline versions.

Further evidence of skyrocketing U.S. consumer interest in fuel-saving cars is the fact that this year, more than 4,700 California car buyers have chosen Tesla’s striking Model S, leaving several well-established luxury vehicle brands — including Porsche, Buick, Cadillac and Lincoln, and both Jaguar and Land Rover combined — in the dust, according to a recent report.

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