Volkswagen's so-called 'dieselgate' affair may have dented the image of diesel as a fuel for passenger cars in the US, but the 'Diesel Technology Forum' believes the outlook remains positive for the fuel there in spite of recent setbacks.

While diesel passenger vehicles sales have decreased in recent months, there are some positive signs that indicate diesel sales will recover and expand in the coming years, according to Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

Schaeffer made his comments during a speech to automotive writers at the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) this week in New York City.  Auto analyst Alan Baum of Baum and Associates also addressed IMPA by audio from Detroit.

Schaeffer said that new federal fuel efficiency standards requiring higher vehicle mileage will be a significant boost for clean diesel vehicles, which have about 30 percent better fuel efficiency than gasoline vehicles.  Schaeffer also noted that new diesel technology has helped diesel pickup trucks break the 30 mpg highway mark that will be key to reaching the new federal efficiency standards.

"Diesel is an important strategy for meeting future efficiency and fuel economy requirements for most major automotive manufacturers," Schaeffer said.

He also noted that an overwhelming majority of US and international automakers have expressed support for diesel vehicles in the worldwide markets.  In the next year, Schaeffer said, there could be up to 24 new diesel vehicles introduced in the US including five new diesel cars, 12 SUVs and seven pickup trucks.

One specific highlight is the speculation of a diesel version of the Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the US.  Schaeffer said such a commitment from Ford for its top-selling vehicle was a strong indication of the commitment to diesels by automakers.