Chrysler Group Touts Benefits of Modern Clean Diesel To President Bush During Visit to Virginia Biodiesel Refinery
West Point, Virginia, May 16, 2005 - President George W. Bush toured a biodiesel refinery in rural Virginia Monday, then was given a personal briefing on the performance and environmental benefits of the Jeep® Liberty CRD sport-utility vehicle equipped with a modern clean diesel engine.
President Bush was also briefed on the benefits of DaimlerChrysler's Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck equipped with a Cummins turbo diesel engine.
"Fuel-efficient diesel vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce our consumption of oil and improve our environment," said Frank O. Klegon, Vice President-Product Development Process and Components at Chrysler Group, after briefing the President. "If we add increased use of biodiesel into the equation, we can cut our consumption of oil even further - and improve the benefits of diesel engines."
The Jeep Liberty CRD is the first mid-sized SUV offered in the U.S. market with a diesel engine. The 2.8-liter, four-cylinder diesel in the Liberty provides the power of a V-8, the acceleration and performance of a V-6, and the fuel efficiency and environmental benefits of a four-cylinder engine. The Liberty CRD has a highway driving range of 500-plus miles, along with best-in-class torque and towing capability.
Each Jeep Liberty CRD built in the DaimlerChrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, is delivered to customers running on B5 biodiesel fuel made with soybeans grown and refined in Ohio. Biodiesel, like that made in the facility toured by the President, reduces emissions of diesel vehicles, including carbon dioxide, and lowers petroleum consumption.
If 30 percent of passenger vehicles in the United States were powered by diesel engines, the nation would save 350,000 barrels of oil per day, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. In Europe, more than 40 percent of new passenger vehicles are diesel-powered.
Nationwide use of B2 fuel (2 percent biodiesel) would replace 742 million gallons of gasoline per year, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
Klegon reported that sales of the new Jeep Liberty CRD have been strong. More than 60,000 consumers expressed interest in the diesel Liberty even before production began, and the company has been challenged to keep up with demand now that the vehicle is on the market.
DaimlerChrysler is testing the U.S. market response to modern, clean diesel vehicles with the launch of the Jeep Liberty CRD this year, following the Mercedes-Benz E320 cdi luxury diesel sedan which went on sale in the U.S. last year and quickly sold out its initial production.
"Once American consumers experience clean modern diesel, we think they are going to be convinced," Klegon said. "That's why we are grateful to President Bush for this special effort to get the word out about the benefits of diesel and biodiesel."