Diesel car sales up sharply

The number of diesel-powered cars is on the rise in Austria despite a sharp increase in fuel prices.One litre of diesel costs around as much as the same amount of regular petrol at service stations in Austria at the moment. Some petrol stations even charge a few Eurocents more for diesel which used to be significantly cheaper than regular car fuel for decades. Soaring petrol prices were one of the major forces behind the last few months’ increase of Austrian inflation which reached 3.3 per cent in April.Figures presented today (Fri) nevertheless show that more and more Austrians opt for diesel-powered vehicles. The number of new diesel cars registered shot up by 33.1 per cent from May 2010 to the same month of this year, Statistik Austria announced. The agency explained that 34,393 newly acquired cars were registered in May 2011 overall, 18.4 per cent more than in the same period of the year before.German car company Opel achieved the strongest increase in sales among the top 10 brands with 43.2 per cent, followed by French firm Peugeot (plus 37.9 per cent) and German automotive industry giant BMW (plus 34.7 per cent).Statistik Austria recently said that 328,563 cars were sold in Austria last year. Only 112 of all acquired vehicles were electric cars (e-cars), according to the Austrian Traffic Club (VCÖ) which sees enormous potential in the eco-friendly alternative.