New particle trapping technology and significantly lower sulfur diesel fuel has opened the door for more diesel-powered vehicles to be sold in all 50 states. But the increase in engine cleanliness hasn't translated into increased diesel vehicle sales the way German automakers wanted.
The problem? Consumer perception hasn't caught up with engineering advances.
To combat the dated stigma that diesels are dirty, slow, expensive, and won't start in the cold, VW has launched TDI Truth & Dare, a new Web site that aims to debunk these myths.
The videos may provide a bit of entertaining education, but is that going to be enough to convert the masses? While diesels get better fuel economy than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, the fuel savings haven't really been realized in terms of dollars because of a spike in diesel prices in 2007 and 2008 and low gasoline fuel prices in recent month.
But at least the site will make finding a diesel fueling station that much easier. TDI Truth & Dare provides the locations of more than 60,000 diesel fueling stations, along with a calculator for how much money a driver could save if he or she drove a VW diesel.
And no new Web site is complete without at least one social media component. For the TDI faithful, there's the Tank Wars competition--a Facebook-based mpg challenge for Volkswagen TDI drivers to reach or surpass the Guinness World Record of 58 miles per gallon set in September 2008 by a Volkswagen Jetta TDI driven by John and Helen Taylor.
No information was released on the prize, should anyone beat the record. But at least competition won't be too stiff. As of now, there's only one competitor.