Why are Diesel Cars not Popular in the United States?

Diesel cars have never come so far in the United States. While diesel-powered engines hummed and roared most of the streets of Europe not too long ago, and then axed all too suddenly by the government bearing the blame over air pollution since last year, diesel has never made a prominent mark in the American soil.


Despite diesel’s greater torque and fuel economy, the fuel’s price per gallon is discouraging enough. Diesel in the US is more expensive than gasoline at the pump. This all started when US President Reagan imposed heavy taxes on diesel-powered trucks in 1981 due to the damage they cause on the highways. Since then, diesel fuel is taxed more expensively than gasoline.

As of May 11, 2015, gasoline (all grades) is sold at an average of $2.776/gallon, while diesel (all types) is sold at $ 2.878/gallon, as per the US Energy Information Administration report.


Early generations of diesel engines were noisier than gas-fueled vehicles. US drivers apparently do not like a noisy car. Nevertheless, newer diesel cars are no longer as noisy and dirty as they were before. Still, diesel cars remain stereotyped as the noisy ones.


Diesel engines (especially the high sulfur diesel of the past) emit a distinctive odor that many people find undesirable. Indeed, the smell of diesel does not make a good car for the family or for someone who wants a pleasant ride.



Blame it on the cost of diesel fuel –diesel cars in the US are not widely available. There may be plenty of diesel trucks and work machines, but never passenger cars. If an American wants a diesel ride, they usually have to look everywhere.


US drivers are fast and furious drivers, and most of the high-performance cars available are gas-powered. Diesel vehicles sold in the US, on the other hand, are mostly lacking in speed and performance.


Pollution is another factor why diesel cars are not that popular in the US. And with Europe imposing hefty fines on diesel-fueled vehicles, even to a point of scrapping them, the US might as well follow suit. If that were the case, the future of diesel cars in the US is bleaker than it already is.

Leave a Comment