Modern, clean diesel engines will be a cornerstone of America’s energy solutions, and clean, renewable biodiesel fuel will be critical to the success of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. market, a DaimlerChrysler executive says.
DaimlerChrysler will continue to expand its lineup of diesel-powered vehicles in the coming months, at the same time it broadens its programs to educate the American public on the benefits of home-grown biodiesel fuel.
“Diesel will be good for America, and biodiesel makes diesel better,” said Loren Beard, Senior Manager – Fuels for DaimlerChrysler in Auburn Hills, Michigan. “Emissions of particulates — an important issue in congested urban areas — can be reduced more than 80 percent with modern, clean diesel engines running on biodiesel.”
Beard addressed a conference on the fuel savings, air quality, and health benefits of biodiesel in Washington, D.C., today, hosted by capital-area chapters of the American Lung Association and the National Biodiesel Board. Beard reported that B20 (20 percent biodiesel blended in conventional diesel fuel) can reduce particulate matter emissions by up to 15 percent.
Technology advances in the past two decades have improved the power, performance, efficiency and emissions of diesel engines. As a result, today’s modern, clean diesel engines produce 80 percent reduction in particulate emissions and 70 percent reduction in NOx emissions at the same time providing 50 percent more power and 30 percent more torque — which we experience as “pickup” or performance.
DaimlerChrysler will market five diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the U.S. in 2007: Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD sport-utility vehicle with 3.0-liter diesel engine; Mercedes-Benz E320 luxury sedan with 3.0-liter engine and BlueTec emissions technology; and three new Mercedes-Benz utility vehicles, R320 CDI, ML320 CDI, and GL320 CDI. In addition, the Dodge Ram pickup and Dodge Sprinter van are also equipped with diesel engines for the U.S. market.
Beard noted that diesel vehicles have significant environmental and consumer benefits compared with gasoline vehicles:
* An average of 30 percent better fuel economy;
* Up to 20 percent less emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas;
* Increased performance, range and towing capability; and
* Longer life and increased resale value.
According to the U.S. EPA, if the U.S. had a light-duty fleet that was one-third diesel, the country would reduce its oil consumption by up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. That is equivalent to the amount of oil the U.S. imports daily from Saudi Arabia.
“Use of biodiesel extends the benefits of diesel technology,” Beard said.
Biodiesel significantly reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions from diesel vehicles, because plants absorb carbon dioxide during growth. Tailpipe emissions are also lower with biodiesel.
In addition to its environmental benefits, biodiesel reduces dependence on oil and supports the U.S. agricultural economy.
If B5 (5% biodiesel blended in conventional diesel fuel) were used in all diesel fuel for on-road use in the U.S., it would reduce fuel consumption by 1.85 billion gallons, the amount of fuel made from all oil imports from Iraq.
DaimlerChrysler is promoting use of biodiesel fuel through several programs:
* The Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel, like its predecessor the Jeep Liberty
CRD, will be delivered to customers running on B5 biodiesel fuel.
* The Dodge Ram diesel is also approved for use with B5 fuel. This fall,
DaimlerChrysler will begin testing B20 biodiesel fuel in the Ram with
its commercial, government and military fleet customers.
* DaimlerChrysler is working with Michigan State University researchers,
the U.S. EPA, the State of Michigan, NextEnergy, the Detroit-based
research organization, and the National Biodiesel Board to develop
better biodiesel fuel crops.
“As our President & CEO Tom LaSorda has pointed out, biofuels are proof that at least part of the solution to our energy, environment and national security issues can be homegrown,” Beard said.