Report: Volkswagen Pushing Regulators to Encourage More Diesel Powered Vehicles in the U.S.

By Trevor Dorchies | August 23, 2013
If Volkswagen has its way, there's going to be a lot more diesel powered vehicles on U.S. roads in the next few years. The German automaker is pressing for both federal and state regulators to encourage the public to buy more vehicles that run on diesel. "We’re not feeling the love," said Anna Schneider, vice president for industry and government relations at VW Group of America, to The Detroit News. "This is one of the greenest choices... It's time the U.S. government included clean diesel in its 'all of the above’ strategy' for greening U.S. roads. Putting these vehicles on the road should be incentivized and not penalized, and that’s our goal." As it stands now, electric vehicles are the only ones available for federal and state tax credits and other various benefits. Making matters worse for perspective diesel vehicle owners, 15 states call for a higher tax on vehicles that burn oil as opposed to gasoline or electricity. Currently, the federal government calls for a six percent higher tax on diesel over gasoline. The upcoming CAFE requirements call for fleet-wide vehicles to achieve 54.5 mpg, which is nearly double what the requirements are today. These new standards come at a time when many automakers, including Volkswagen and Chevrolet, are selling more and more passenger vehicles that run on diesel. Unfortunately for these automakers, and many others, the federal government doesn't award additional credits because of this.
The Environmental Protection Agency explained its thinking behind this decision back in 2012 saying that it doesn't believe "diesel vehicles promote the commercialization of technologies" because it doesn't achieve zero emissions. On top of that, the EPA said that vehicles with diesel engines are more widely accepted than electric vehicles. On the surface, diesel vehicles are 30 percent more fuel efficient than their gasoline brethren, but then there's that whole higher carbon content in diesel, which reduces carbon emissions by seven to 20 percent over gasoline engines. Nevertheless, Volkswagen still stands by its diesel offerings, but sales are slower because, as Schneider told The Detroit News, they face an image problem. "People think diesel is dirty and if you are driving down the highway and you’re behind a heavy-duty truck that has plumes of smoke behind it that isn’t helping our image at all,” Schneider said to The Detroit News. Source: The Detroit News