October 17, 2003

Diesel demonstration aims to clear up misconceptions about diesels

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers hosted a “Clean Diesel Ride and Drive” for Members of Congress and their staffs.

“In Europe, almost 40% of all new vehicles are powered by clean diesel technology. By comparison, fewer than 1% of U.S. vehicles are diesel powered,” said Alliance President and CEO Josephine S. Cooper. “Advanced diesel technology utilizing clean diesel fuel can deliver between 20% and 40% better fuel economy than comparable gasoline engines. Through events like this we hope to clear up many of the common misconceptions about diesel technology and open the door for increased diesel penetration in the U.S. market.”

The Alliance said diesel vehicles run more cleanly than their predecessors thanks to new fuel injection, combustion and exhaust after-treatment technologies. And, the auto industry is working now to develop and introduce technologies that will allow diesel automobiles to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent Tier 2 regulations.

For optimal performance, diesel vehicles require the cleaner diesel fuel that will be sold in the U.S. beginning in 2006. Even minute amounts of sulphur in diesel fuel foul the emissions-control technology that makes vehicles run cleaner.

“In addition to increased fuel economy, clean diesel vehicles provide greater torque or starting acceleration, than conventional vehicles,” added Cooper. “Greater torque is an asset for merging onto busy highways, towing trailers, or climbing steep roads.”

Clean diesel vehicles cost more to produce than conventional vehicles, so the Alliance supports tax incentives for consumers to help get these clean, highly fuel efficient, diesel vehicles on the road more quickly and in greater volumes. Sixteen vehicles from five manufacturers were showcased at Thursday’s event. Joining the Alliance were the Department of Energy and the Diesel Technology Forum.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 10 car and light truck manufacturers who account for 90 percent of U.S. vehicle sales. Member companies include BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen. For more information, visit the Alliance website at www.autoalliance.org.

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