Earlier this week, the Diesel Technology Forum released a study of environmental and economic benefits of clean diesel. In results of a survey released with the study, an overwhelming majority of respondents said the next vehicle they buy will be more fuel-efficient. The reasons have as much to do with concerns about our dependence on oil as pocketbook concerns, a survey released today by the Diesel Technology Forum found.

Over the next year, leading automakers are preparing to launch more than a dozen new clean-diesel car and truck models that meet the world's strictest clean air standards.

"The environmental study of more than 5 million diesel pickup trucks sold from 1994 to 2007 found the trucks will save the U.S. 48 billion gallons of fuel," said Kevin McMahon of The Martec Group, a transportation market-research firm. "That's more than two year's worth of Venezuelan imports, or the equivalent of taking 7.5 million gasoline-powered cars off the road."

Since 2000, U.S. registration of diesel vehicles has climbed 80 percent and market researcher J.D. Power and Associates predicts the market will triple over the next five years as more types of diesel vehicles become available from European, Asian and U.S. auto manufacturers.

"The message is clear: the time for clean diesel is now," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "With only a few choices available to consumers, diesels have already dramatically cut energy consumption and reduced carbon dioxidee emissions. With more choices on the way, Americans will continue to benefit as we continue to introduce the public to this new generation of clean diesel cars and light truck choices."

Only half of those surveyed, for instance, believe diesel-powered vehicles get better gas mileage than gasoline-powered vehicles. New diesel technologies, in fact, get up to 40 percent better fuel efficiency.

For the survey, pollsters from Yankelovich Partners interviewed 1,003 Americans in the national sample and 403 adults in California between July 14 and 21 for the survey. The sampling error is 3.1 percent plus or minus.

"Most people are surprised to learn that diesel pickup trucks outsold hybrids 2.5 to 1 from 2003-2007 and saved 21 times more fuel than all hybrids combined," Schaeffer said.