2011 Chevrolet Cruze LT

A diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze will be sold in the U.S., the Associated Press reports.

The Detroit News says a diesel Cruze will get about 50 mpg and “will help GM meet more stringent federal fuel economy standards and rival the gas mileage of popular hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius.”

Though General Motors has not commented on the announcement, the AP cites two sources who are briefed on GM’s product plans. A diesel version of the Chevy Cruze would help GM meet more stringent upcoming government fuel economy standards.

The EPA rates the Prius at 51/48 mpg city/highway, while the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a more fuel-efficient version of the base Cruze, gets an EPA-estimated 26/39. Chevrolet rates the 2012 Cruze Eco at 42 mpg highway, and the car has a six-speed manual transmission with Eco overdrive gear to make it more fuel-efficient than the base Cruze.

“The Cruze Eco model is currently the highest-mileage conventional gasoline-powered car sold in the U.S., with a 42 mpg highway, and we at Drive On were able to get nearly 50 in one with careful highway driving recently,” USA Today’s Drive On reports.

If you’re ready to buy a diesel Chevrolet Cruze now, you’re out of luck. The Cruze diesel will not be sold until at least 2013, the AP reports. Like other diesel versions of gasoline cars, it’s expected to cost more. For example, the base Volkswagen Jetta starts at $16,495, while the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel costs $22,995. Adding a diesel engine to the Chevrolet Silverado HD adds almost $7,200 to the price.

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze starts at $16,525 and the Cruze Eco is $18,425. Based on prices of diesel versions of other vehicles, shoppers may pay more than $22,000 for a diesel version of the Cruze. The regular gasoline Cruze was the best-selling car in the U.S. in June.

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