The chief of Bosch, a German auto supply company, expects a rapid increase in U.S. diesel sales.

Diesels-engined vehicles have been gaining ground recently in the United States, with sales increasing by 35 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Despite that growth, oil-burners still only make up a small portion of the country's total auto sales.

That may change if Peter Marks, chief of German auto supplier Bosch's North and South American operations, is correct. Marks predicts that diesels will account for 10 percent of new vehicle vehicle sales in America by 2015, which would represent an impressive jump from the current level of three percent.

Marks pointed to increasing public awareness of diesel engines in addition to the expanding number of diesel models as key reasons for the sales boost.

The central factor, of course, is the superior fuel efficiency offered by diesels - Marks believes that diesel-powered vehicles have the potential to average 54 mpg or more in the near future, allowing owners to recoup the $1,200 - $2,800 price premium commanded by oil burners as soon as 14 months after the purchase.