Chrysler Groupâ€™s announcement to use B5, a 5% blend of biodiesel, for the first tank of fuel in each new Jeep Liberty Common Rail Diesel (CRD) sport-utility vehicle is a landmark choice by U.S. auto manufacturers in advancing the use of cleaner burning biodiesel. Such decisions stem from the credibility that biodiesel has gained following years of soybean farmer investment in research and education on biodieselâ€™s performance, emissions reductions and other benefits.
Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche announced the decision on September 9 and called it an important first step in encouraging wider use of clean, renewable fuels. The company expects to produce the first Liberty diesel in November at its plant in Toledo, Ohio.
"Chrysler Group has demonstrated leadership within its industry by taking this first step in promoting the use of biodiesel," says National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Chief Executive Officer Joe Jobe. "The Jeep Liberty will be one of the first new passenger vehicles offering a highly efficient diesel engine into the U.S. market, and Chryslerâ€™s B5 factory fill will help build awareness about the environmental and energy security benefits of biodiesel."
Through their checkoff program, soybean farmers have invested millions of their own dollars in the research and development of biodiesel. "It is gratifying to see a company recognize the value of biodiesel that uses soybeans," says United Soybean Board Chairman Criss Davis, a farmer from Shullsburg, Wisc. "Soybean growers have encouraged greater use of biodiesel on and off the farm and have supported NBBâ€™s work to communicate biodieselâ€™s benefits to Chrysler Group and many other companies that are key to the growth of the biodiesel industry."
More than 400 major fleets use biodiesel commercially nationwide including all four branches of the military, NASA, Harvard, National Park Service, U.S. Postal Service, and others. About 300 retail filling stations make various biodiesel blends available to the public, and more than 1,000 petroleum distributors carry it nationwide.