• Diesels account for half of all new cars sold in Europe-60 percent of those sold in France and Spain alone.
• In the U.S., they are used in 95 percent of all emergency vehicles, such as fire engines and ambulances.
• Diesels also power 60 percent of all school buses and 95 percent of all public transit buses.
Part of the reason for this popularity is the fuel economy that diesels offer. Experts say that on long trips it's often possible for a car with a diesel engine to travel nearly twice as far between refueling stops as a typical gas-powered vehicle. It's estimated that if everyone in the U.S. drove a diesel, the country would save 45 billion gallons of fuel annually.
While some criticize diesels for what is described as slow acceleration, a new model from Mercedes-Benz may change all that. The new E-class diesel-the E320 CDI-features an electronic fuel injection system that is said to be cleaner, quieter and more powerful than conventional, mechanically injected diesel engines. It's reported that this full-size luxury sedan has a realistic chance of serving up better than 30 miles to the gallon on the highway and may cruise as far as 700 miles without refueling.
While even traditional diesel power plants can produce carbon dioxide emissions at a rate that's 30 percent lower than gasoline- powered engines, they have in the past tended to produce more oxides of nitrogen and soot.
However, the new CDI-Common-rail Diesel Injection-electronic injection system is said to offer more precise fuel delivery. Coupled with an oxidation catalyst, this new technology has created a vehicle that can pass current emission standards in 45 states and may meet the standards of all 50 states by 2007.
To learn more, visit the Web site at www.mbusa.com.
Today's diesel car is clean, quiet and fast. Oh, and it still gets more than 30 percent better fuel mileage than a comparable gasoline engine.