As part of their continuing efforts to introduce clean diesel technologies to the U.S. marketplace, on October 16, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers hosted a “Clean Diesel Ride and Drive” for Members of Congress and their staffs. This new generation of clean diesel vehicles offers increased fuel economy while delivering the performance and durability that consumers demand.“In Europe, almost 40-percent of all new vehicles are powered by clean diesel technology. By comparison, fewer than 1 percent of U.S. vehicles are diesel powered,” said Alliance President and CEO Josephine S. Cooper. “Advanced diesel technology using clean diesel fuel can deliver between 20- and 40-percent 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.”Today’s 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 sulfur 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 the event. Joining the Alliance were the Department of Energy and the Diesel Technology Forum.