By George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While hybrid and electric vehicles come up short in consumer acceptance and as a viable value proposition, new high performance clean diesels are already a proven mass vehicle solution in Europe where the pump price of fuel routinely tops $7-9 per gallon.

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Though American diesels like Cummins and Detroit Allison were world class leaders in the heavy duty trucks, the development of diesel passenger and performance luxury cars has been dominated by European car makers like Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, and Fiat. Up to 60 percent of the general passenger vehicles in Europe are diesel powered.

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Now that new high efficiency clean diesels have achieved 50-state legal status in the US, passing the world’s most stringent emissions standards of the California Air Resources Board, memories of the old style cranky, noisy, smelly diesels are fading among American consumers.

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Moreover, American car companies, which had disastrous early results with diesels, are now catching up with attractive offerings like the diesel version of the acclaimed Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan EPA highway rated at 46 mpg.