Volvo is living up to the promise it made last year when it announced to end production of vehicles powered by diesel engines in early 2024. This XC90 assembled at the company's Torslanda factory is the final oil-burner produced by the Swedish automaker, ending an era that started 45 years ago. The blue SUV won't be heading to a customer since it'll go into a museum for posterity.

The Geely-owned marque didn't start to keep track of diesel car production until 1991, and since then, it has built more than nine million vehicles. Since the records don't show how many vehicles were built from 1979 until 1991, the total number is much higher considering 12 years are missing. The last of the diesel breed is heading to the World of Volvo museum in Gothenburg.

The diesel story started with the 244 GL D6, but it didn't have a Volvo engine. Instead, it was powered by a naturally aspirated six-cylinder unit borrowed from Volkswagen and Audi. It wasn't until 2001 that Volvo introduced a diesel engine of its own, a five-cylinder mill assembled in-house at the factory in Skövde.

In 2017, Volvo announced plans to end development of diesel engines. Last month, the final vehicle with a diesel engine (a V60) was built in Ghent, Belgium. Now, the diesel engine is completely gone from the lineup.

The next step is to end the production of vehicles powered by combustion engines altogether. Although other luxury brands such as Mercedes and Bentley have pushed back their overly ambitious EV targets, Volvo is sticking by its plan to go completely electric by the end of the decade.

Europe is the last bastion of diesel cars, but demand has been shrinking in the aftermath of the Volkswagen Group's messy emissions-cheating scandal. In addition, stricter emissions regulations are forcing automakers to gradually drop diesel engines. Investments to make diesels comply with the EU's tougher legislation would be expensive, and since demand is dropping, it doesn't make sense to spend money on these dying engines.

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) claims diesel's market share in Europe dropped from 16.4 percent in 2022 to 13.6 percent in 2023. Fully electric vehicles were more popular last year by taking a 14.6 percent share, while plug-in hybrids accounted for 7.7 percent. Gasoline cars reigned supreme with 35.3 percent. Regular hybrids took a 25.8 percent share while other types of propulsion accounted for the remaining 3 percent.

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