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'The Black Cloud' Hanging Over Diesel Vehicles

Sean Gallup
Getty Images
Volkswagen continues to recover from the effects of the September 2015 "dieselgate" emissions scandal, where 11 million vehicles were intentionally programmed to falsify emissions imformation.

Diesel passenger cars have had a tumultuous past in the United States. In the last 15 years, they gained some acceptance among American consumers before a recent downturn. But in the pursuit of increased gas mileage, an increasing number of car makers are now offering diesel models in this country.

But a notable absence today is Volkswagen, which once sold the most diesels vehicles in this country. After VW was slapped with a huge penalty for rigging emission test results, the company pulled its diesels off the market.

According to automotive contributor Mark Savage, despite diesels and turbodiesels being very "viable as far as power and gas mileage," the Volkswagen scandal may have damaged the image of diesel engines for years to come.

"You might say that diesel has a black cloud hanging over it to a certain degree," says Savage. "GM hurt it because they had bad diesels and bad cars when they were making them, and now Volkswagen had good cars and decent diesels but they weren't as clean as they said they were. Lying usually hurts you in the long run."

Lake Effect automotive contributors Mark Savage and Dan Harmon focus on diesels in their conversation this month, starting with the extent of Volkswagen’s deception:

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Dan Harmon was one of the original members of Lake Effect (formerly At Ten). He started at WUWM in November of 1998 and left December of 2015 after 17 years of production.
Mark Savage writes the auto review column, Savage On Wheels, for WUWM (formerly for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and He is the former executive editor of American Snowmobiler magazine and FineScale Modeler magazine, both part of Kalmbach Media in Waukesha.