While this article
is Eurocentric in its focus, the point is pretty clear.
Diesel sales are rising dramatically around the world for a number of reasons. Modern diesels are quiet, non-smoky, and powerful. They also pollute less than their gasoline powered counterparts and and operate up to 40% more efficiently to boot.
Now if only car vendors in the US could become a bit more clueful about this--right now if you want a non-truck, non-SUV diesel car, your choices are Mercedes, Volkwagen, or a gray market import. Yet GM, Ford and Chrysler all offer (often multiple) diesel powertrain options in passenger models sold overseas.
As of the beginning of this year, diesels made up more than 50% of all new car sales in Europe; in the US they are currently 4%. Come on guys, quit holding out, we could use them here too!