AUBURN HILLS, MI – DaimlerChrysler will expand the use of clean, renewable biodiesel fuel by approving use of B-20 (20 percent biodiesel) in Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Use of B-20 is approved effective with the 2007-model year and will require use of biodiesel fuel that meets the fuel specifications established by the U.S. military. Initially, DaimlerChrysler is approving use of B-20 in Dodge Ram pickups equipped with Cummins diesel engines for its military, government, and commercial fleet customers only. The manufacturer is working with the government, automotive suppliers, energy providers, universities, and independent agencies on a national fuel standard that would make B-20 an option for all owners of Dodge Ram diesels. “Biofuels represent a huge opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and our dependence on foreign oil," said Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda. In addition, biofuels reduce overall emissions of greenhouse gases and tailpipe emissions of particulates and smog-forming compounds. And use of biofuels supports the American agricultural economy. Promoting increased use of biodiesel is a part of DaimlerChrysler's campaign to re-introduce diesel-powered passenger vehicles to U.S. consumers. Modern, clean diesel vehicles offer fuel economy improvements of 30 percent and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, compared with gas-powered vehicles. At the same time, diesel vehicles provide the power and performance valued by American consumers. DaimlerChrysler has also announced plans to market vehicles this year equipped with BlueTec, a portfolio of emission technologies that will enable diesel vehicles to meet the toughest environmental standards. “The Mercedes E320 full-size sedan, powered by a six-cylinder BLUETEC diesel engine, will be the cleanest diesel in the world,” LaSorda said. Chrysler Group has previously endorsed use of B-5 (5 percent biodiesel) fuel in the Jeep Liberty CRD diesel SUV, and every vehicle is fueled with B-5 at the assembly plant in Toledo. In addition, use of B-2 is approved for the diesel-powered Dodge Sprinter vans. Most U.S. biodiesel is made from soybeans. However, DaimlerChrysler is participating in research programs in Germany and India to develop processes for producing high-quality biodiesel from non-food agricultural products. In the United States, Chrysler Group is participating in an extensive biodiesel research program, including development of a national B-20 specification. The research partnership includes Detroit-based nonprofit NextEnergy, Biodiesel Industries, a chain of biodiesel refineries, automotive suppliers Bosch, Delphi, and Cummins, along with researchers based at Wayne State and Michigan State universities, with initial work to include much-needed research and field testing of biodiesel fuels. Chrysler Group is further supporting use of renewable biofuels with approximately 1.5 million flex-fuel vehicles now in use that are capable of running on E-85 (85 percent ethanol) fuel made with corn. For the 2006-model year, flex-fuel versions of the Dodge Ram 1500, Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring sedans, Dodge Durango, and Dodge and Chrysler minivans are available to fleet customers.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials