Incentives Needed to Encourage Purchase of Fuel-Efficient Diesels; High-Quality Biodiesel Also Criti
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement in response to President Bush's speech this afternoon discussing his energy plan:
"In January, President Bush called on Americans during his State of the Union speech to 'expand the use of clean diesel vehicles' as part of his new energy plan to cut gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next decade. America's diesel industry is ready to respond and add to the estimated 4.8 million diesel cars, pickups and SUVs already on the road today. Numerous manufacturers, including Dodge, General Motors, Ford, BMW Group, Mercedes, Jeep, Audi, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and Mitsubishi, are planning to introduce new clean diesel vehicles in the next two to three years, as technological innovation promising slashed emissions meets consumer demand for fuel economy and high performance.
"Diesel cars, trucks and SUVs deliver superior fuel economy -- typically 20% to 40% better than a comparable gasoline vehicle -- without requiring drivers to sacrifice the power and performance Americans demand. Currently, diesel fuel is on average 26 cents cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline -- a national average of $2.79 for diesel compared to $3.05 for gasoline -- according to the Energy Information Administration. And today's diesel vehicles are clean, quiet and fun-to-drive.
"Greater use of diesel technology would help the U.S. reduce petroleum consumption, improve energy security and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that America could save up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day -- an amount equivalent to the oil we currently import from Saudi Arabia -- if one-third of U.S. cars, pickup trucks and SUVs were diesel-powered.
"More Americans are discovering clean diesel as an alternative fuel option. Annual registration of diesel passenger vehicles has grown by 80% -- from just over 300,000 in 2000 to nearly 550,000 in 2005. And most analysts expect this trend to continue. Researchers at J.D. Power and Associates predict that diesel sales will triple in the next 10 years, growing to more than 10% of U.S. vehicles sales by 2015 up from 3.6% in 2005.
"Congress should consider extending financial incentives that encourage the purchase of new clean technologies, including new clean diesel cars, pickups and SUVs. Diesel manufacturers are also eager to continue working with the renewable diesel fuel industry to assure the highest quality standards and performance of biodiesel blends."