Mercedes-Benz announced that it plans to offer BLUETEC diesel-powered versions of its sport-utility vehicles (SUV) in the U.S. beginning in 2008. The new Mercedes-Benz BLUETEC SUVs are slated to be the world’s first diesel-powered vehicles to meet EPA’s stringent BIN5 emissions standards for all 50 states.

According to Mercedes-Benz, BLUETEC represents the world’s cleanest diesel technology and showcases several state-of-the-art engine and exhaust technologies. BLUETEC technology helps reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by using the “AdBlue injection” process. It is a process that adds measured quantities of a urea-based solution into the exhaust stream to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 80 percent.

Could this move by Mercedes-Benz represent a significant step for the future acceptance of diesel vehicles in the U.S. market? Will it contribute significantly to fuel savings and a reduction in oil imports?

In a study by EPA in 2004, Margo Oge, head of its Office of Transportation and Air Quality, concluded that if only one-third of all light-duty trucks in the U.S. were operated with modern diesel engines, the country would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. This would be about equal to the amount of oil the U.S. currently imports from Saudi Arabia.

The BLUETEC M-, R- and GL-Class are the latest additions to the Mercedes-Benz line-up of clean diesel vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC luxury sedan makes its showroom debut in October 2006. It will include a powerful 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel engine and it will be the only diesel-powered vehicle in the U.S. certified to meet BIN8 emissions standards.

Mercedes-Benz News Media Contact: Michelle Murad, 201-573-4320

AMG Market | PR News Media Contact: Greg Magnus, AMG-Market, 804-723-9160

You can learn more about BLUETEC from the MB BlUETEC blog here.