Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically

Why Some Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Not Sold Domestically. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Bill Canis. August 17, 2012.

There is nothing in U.S. emissions or fuel economy regulations that prevents automakers from marketing high-efficiency diesel cars in the United States. Volkswagen and others already offer a few models domestically. To meet U.S. emissions standards, however, automakers have to modify their EU-certified diesel engines. Where a manufacturer sees large demand for diesel vehicles in the United States, it is free to do so. However, the U.S. market for diesels is very small. Most Americans have shunned this technology because of some adverse experiences with diesel engines more than 30 years ago, as the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association noted. Current diesel engine technology has changed markedly since then, but there appears to be a lingering bias against such vehicles by U.S. consumers, reinforced by the fact that, unlike in Europe, in the United States, diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline.

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