In the wake of record-shattering oil costs, Americans are increasingly turning to diesel-powered vehicles, according to new research released this week by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF). Data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co. show that registration of diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S. – including cars, trucks and SUVs – has grown 80 percent since 2000, up from 301,000 diesel vehicles that year to 543,777 diesel registrations in 2005. For the all-important light-duty market, diesel registrations nearly doubled (95 percent growth) from 2000-2005, with 31 percent growth coming in 2005 alone. When given a choice between a gasoline or diesel engine, consumers purchased the diesel engine option almost half the time (45 percent) in 2005. Earlier this week, President Bush proposed extending federal tax credits for the purchase of fuel-efficient clean diesel vehicles and hybrids. For a comparison of cars and SUVs available as both gas and diesel models, click here.