Coming off a relatively strong year for U.S. auto sales, consumers appear to be showing greater demand for clean energy vehicles and automotive products. The trend may bode well for auto financing and lender credit decisions. According to a report released this week by HybridCars.Com and research firm Baum and Associates, sales of new clean diesel automobiles in the U.S. climbed by 27.4 percent in 2011, compared to the previous year. Baum and Associates projects that diesel car sales will reach 6 to 6.5 percent of the entire U.S. market by 2015, compared to just over 3 percent today. "Without a doubt, 2011 was a key year for the industry's effort to reestablish clean diesel automobiles," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "This 27 percent increase in annual sales is a strong sign that American drivers are understanding the benefits of new clean diesel technology in terms of better fuel efficiency and reduced emissions." New fuel efficiency standards requiring a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will also help drive up demand for clean diesel and other technologies in coming years.