Illinois is seeing the nation’s fastest rate of growth of diesel cars and SUVs on the road. Registrations grew 25 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to R.L. Polk & Co., which compiles data on the auto industry, even though a vehicle with a diesel engine costs $2,000 more, and diesel fuel costs more than gasoline ($3.89 for gas and $3.93 for diesel in Illinois, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report).
But diesel fuel has a higher BTU value than gasoline, and it burns more thoroughly, which actually reduces fuel costs, says Allen Schaeffer, director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
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“Recognizing the fuel-efficient nature of diesel, and there’s been many more choices come onto the market, so consumers have more clean diesel options to choose from, and those two factors together I think have helped drive Illinois into the No. 1 spot,” he said.
Schaeffer says the ideal diesel buyer is someone who logs a lot of highway miles, who will make up the higher cost of the vehicle through fuel efficiency.
When you include non-commercial pickup trucks and vans, Illinois growth in diesel passenger vehicles is third. Illinois’ total for diesel cars and SUVs is 31,776, which is seventh in the nation.
Diesel fuel is available at 52 percent of gas stations nationwide.