Though the focus of automakers in recent years seems to be trained on hybrid offerings, there are a growing number of indicators that attention paid to diesel-powered offerings is increasing. German powerhouse Volkswagen added the beloved Beetle to their already-impressive list of diesel options that include the Golf, Jetta, Touareg and Passat. In a surprising move, North American companies are stepping up to the diesel plate. Heavy-hitters like GM, Chrysler and Mazda all boast technologically-advanced diesel options, though their availability in Canada and the US is limited as yet.

On average, diesel vehicles boast about thirty percent better fuel economy than gasoline models of comparable size and power. Advances in diesel technology have also yielded offerings with less smoke and noise than older models, known as “clean diesels.” These advances are huge selling points for buyers seeking more fuel-efficient models.

Despite the higher pump prices of diesel, the number of North American drivers willing to consider buying a diesel-powered vehicle is up by twelve percent since 2006. The overall sales of diesel cars and trucks rose twenty-seven percent in 2011; experts also predict a significant spike in diesel popularity with the 2013 model-year offerings. Sports car giant Porsche is expected to unveil the diesel Cayenne SUV in April; luxury manufacturers Audi will also be adding a diesel-powered version of their perennial favorite A8 sedan, the next Q5 crossover and the A6 sedan. Jeep, Chevrolet and Cadillac are among the North American automakers expected to unveil new diesel options as well.