Diesel engines, scorned by U.S. consumers as too noisy, sooty and smelly, have their best chance in decades to remake their image and worm their way into the mainstream, according to USA Today. It's still a slim chance and could take years, but what have been pariahs are beginning to seem more like logical alternatives to gasoline power as market forces, regulations and advancements in technology converge, USA Today said. Diesels get roughly 25 percent to 40 percent better fuel economy than gasoline engines, so wide use of diesels would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and trim consumers' fuel bills. Engineers say there is no technology on the horizon that would make gasoline engines as fuel-efficient as diesels. General Motors Corp., DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. have hybrid plans, but they also want diesels as part of the mix because they offer better driving performance and power for towing than hybrids can ever hope. And U.S. drivers are bingeing on higher-performance cars and trucks, according to USA Today.