Diesels still outsell electric vehicles in the U.S.

Mazda joins the diesel club with newly-released CX-5 Signature Diesel

Published: April 28, 2019, 6:20 AM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:54 PM

2020 Mazda CX-5 Signature Diesel - Mazda adds availability of a Skyactiv D Diesel engine to its popular CX-5 crossover.

One of the new models making its debut, to little fanfare, at the recent New York International Auto Show was a diesel version of the popular Mazda CX-5 crossover. 

Sales of the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD, featuring the Skyactiv-D 2.2-litre diesel engine, will begin in Canada in the second half of 2019.

Why would Mazda introduce a new diesel model to market now, in light of recent scandals surrounding diesels from Volkswagen and its subsidiaries and suppliers? Aren’t diesels virtually dead on the market?

Well, no, they’re not. Based on figures provided by the Diesel Technology Forum, more than 500,000 diesel-powered light-duty diesel vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year – more than one of every 40 new vehicles sold in the country.

While electric vehicles seem to get all the headlines, diesels still outsell battery electrics (BEVs) by more than two-to-one and they even outsell the combination of BEVs and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) together. And they do so without the aid of government incentives that are primary drivers of EV sales.

True, most diesel sales are in the form of light-duty trucks. But there are several passenger cars offering a diesel option as well. And while some are disappearing, more are also being added.

The fact is, diesels do offer significant advantages over either gasoline or electric vehicles. They offer dramatically greater driving range than either, exceptional durability and longevity, and fuel efficiency that’s superior to their gasoline counterparts. Plus, cheating on tests aside, they must pass the same emissions regulations as any other vehicle.

In the case of the CX-5 Diesel, Mazda says it worked closely with all proper federal and state agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to ensure that the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine meets the required emission standards and passes all appropriate regulations. 

In addition, diesel drivers tend to love them – especially their responsiveness. So, with VW and some other Europeans withdrawing from the light-duty diesel market, Mazda just might be in line to fill the gap they’ve left with its new SkyActiv D, diesel technology.

And the untapped potential of diesel hybrids opens new doors altogether. There may be life in Rudolf’s invention yet.