Diesel Engines for American Cars

JONESBORO (KAIT) - For years diesel powered cars have been available in Europe in fact in Europe diesel engine cars make up about sixty percent of all automobiles sold.

And now American automakers are taking a hard look at diesels for American cars.

When it comes to diesel powered vehicles we usually think of names like Freight liner, Peterbilt and Mack.

However with the success of diesel engined cars in Europe, American auto makers are giving the diesel engine another look.

The customer who has traveled to Europe and many of them have. Know the high level of refinement of diesel engines in European passenger cars. They're quiet, they're smooth and in many cases you don't know they're a diesel engine.

But the only American made vehicles equipped with diesel engines are full size vans, utility trucks and heavy duty pickups.  Josh Wright a sales consultant at Central Chevrolet showed us around a new diesel pickup.

Wright, "No American cars are made by America as diesels just had trucks and their made basically for horsepower and torque."

Torque, the one word that comes to mind with a diesel, mechanically minded people know exactly what it means and with a diesel there is plenty of it.

Wright, "Torque is significantly greater than a gas powered engine. Step on the gas from zero and it's like a kick in the head. As with this diesel here you've got 365 horsepower but you've got 650 pound feet of torque."

A diesel engine gets around 25% percent better fuel economy than a comparable gas engine. So why don't cars in America have these engines?  Up to now it's been said that diesels are noisy and they have higher emissions. But that was then, American engine makers are addressing and fixing those issues.

This is a great thing. Because clean diesel in brand new diesel engines will give us better emissions, better fuel economy, and that all important American favorite feel, high torque.

General motors is developing a new turbo diesel engine for light trucks which may be available by 2010.  So if you want the torque and economy of an American made diesel right now, it's a pickup or SUV for you, but be patient the cars are coming.