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Start Your Diesels

Volkswagen kicks off its "Dieselution Tour" to educate U.S. consumers and lawmakers about the advantages of clean diesel

The corporate race for pre-selling clean diesel technology began in earnest this week as Volkswagen fired the opening salvo with the introduction of the Dieselution Tour, a mobile marketing exhibit to educate the media, public and, I suspect, government officials on the advantages of its clean diesel technology along with alternative fuels.

Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen of America, Inc., in opening remarks noted, "Volkswagen of America considers the Dieselution Tour an important informational resource for everyone concerned about the environment and improved fuel economy standards. This tour aims to change any outdated perception about diesel technology."

For four months the special exhibit, housed in a 53-foot-long, double expandable semi-trailer with exhibits and interactive displays, will travel across America. Stops will be made at various venues including fuel festivals, auto shows and next year's Super Bowl. Using interesting interactive displays and exhibits Volkswagen will seek to highlight current environmental issues and showcase advances in diesel engine technology, design and performance.

Of course, there's a commercial side of the tour. VW will exhibit the 2009 Jetta with TDI (Turbo Direct Injection diesel engine), a new 50-state clean diesel scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in spring 2008.

Other clean diesels will be shown including, the oldest Volkswagen diesel in America -- a 1977 Rabbit with over half a million miles on the odometer. It's a well known fact that clean diesel engines can improve fuel economy by nearly 35 percent over comparable gasoline engines.

Partner/sponsor companies involved in this landmark exhibit are International Truck and Engine Company and, a non-profit carbon offset provider who will certify the Dieselution Tour as CarbonFree. Volkswagen and recently announced a partnership to offset one year of carbon emissions from each new Volkswagen sold in the U.S. from September 2007 through January 2, 2008.

Marty Bernstein is a contributing editor at the American International Automobile Dealers Assn.

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