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>Remember diesel cars? You know, those noisy, smelly, CO2 spewing beasts that peaked in popularity around the same time that Ronald Reagan ripped Jimmy Carter’s solar panels off the White House roof. Well, they are back and they are quiet, fuel efficient and have lower emissions than conventional cars.

After initially making a dent in U.S. auto sales, diesels dwindled over the last 30 years to about one percent of the market. But over the last ten years, sales have been slowly improving and now account for three percent of the new car sales. There have been loads of new car sales which include all sorts of models such as the Ford F150 Truck. U.S. car buyers interested in hybrid cars are taking notice. With advances in engine design, new diesel cars are 20-40% more efficient than conventional cars. Advances in emission controls and the introduction of ultra-low sulfur “clean diesel” fuel have reduced soot and greenhouse emissions to levels that beat comparable gasoline powered cars. No doubt, this is one of the reasons why almost 50% of the cars in Europe (where fuel prices are much more expensive than in the U.S.) are diesel.

It is still too early to tell if U.S. car buyers will embrace diesel cars over the typical hybrid. Nationwide, diesel fuel is about sixty cents per gallon more expensive than gasoline and you won’t find diesel pumps in many gas stations off the turnpike. And, diesels cost more to build which adds a few thousand dollars to the sticker price. But as demand increases, prices should decline and diesel pumps may start appearing at your filling stations.

Some 2010 model diesels such as the 2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.0L TDI are eligible for Federal tax credits but you need to act fast and purchase before the credits expire at the end of 2010.