© General Motors

© General Motors

Despite the bad rap that diesel cars have gotten recently, thanks to Volkswagen’s emissions issue, more than 300,000 Americans bought diesel cars last year.

A Diesel Technology Forum analysis of registration data from IHS Automotive finds that there were 7.7 million diesel cars, SUVs, full-size pickup trucks and vans in operation in the United States in 2015. (That’s an increase of 329,700 cars over the prior year.) By comparison, hybrid car registrations increased by 331,700 over the same time period, to 3.6 million.

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, says that the group expected the number of diesel cars available on the market to continue to rise in the future. (This expectation is due to the increased mileage requirements by the new federal fuel economy standards, since diesel cars typically get about 30% better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts).

“Automakers have already discussed a number of new clean diesel cars, SUVs and pickup trucks they intend to bring to the U.S. market, which will offer drivers an array of vehicle choices,” Schaeffer says.

The largest growth of diesel passenger cars and SUVs from 2014 to 2015 was seen in the following states:

  • California: 15.4%.
  • Tennessee: 14.8%.
  • Idaho: 10.4%.
  • Nevada: 10%.

Eastern states experienced the fastest growth of diesel pickup truck sales during the same time period, with 7 of the top 10 states on the list, led by Maine (6.96%), South Carolina (6.27%) and Florida (6.19%).

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Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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