JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Sales of the Jeep(R) Liberty CRD diesel, which comes pre-filled with 5 percent biodiesel, are about to surpass the 10,000 mark. That's double the number expected when Chrysler Group first launched the diesel model in early 2005.

The company made the announcement today at the Peter Cremer North America biodiesel refinery in Cincinnati, Ohio. The refinery supplies biodiesel for a factory fill of the Liberty. Every diesel Jeep Liberty that leaves the Toledo, Ohio factory is fueled with B5.

The event took place in celebration of Ohio Agriculture Day. Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey, DaimlerChrysler and local farmers gathered at the biodiesel plant to celebrate the promise of biofuels.

Held in conjunction with National Agriculture Week (March 19-25), the event was part of a national effort to outline the positive impact agriculture has on the nation's economy and quality of life. It was also a chance to reflect on just how far the biodiesel industry has come.

Joe Jobe, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board,
said, "National Agriculture Week seems a befitting time for the biodiesel industry to count its many blessings. DaimlerChrysler's sales of the Liberty show the success that can result when American agriculture is matched with the ingenuity of a private company."

Biodiesel is a cleaner burning, renewable alternative fuel that can be made from any fat or vegetable oil, such as soybean oil. The market surplus in soybean oil from one bushel of soybeans makes 1.4 gallons of biodiesel, offering up a lucrative new market for America's farmers without detracting from the nation's food supply.

Refineries such as Peter Cremer North America in Cincinnati process that oil into high-quality biodiesel adhering to stringent American Society of Testing and Materials standards (ASTM D6751.) Peter Cremer was the first biodiesel producer in the U.S. to achieve the biodiesel industry's prestigious BQ-9000 Accredited Producer designation.

That made it the logical choice as a supplier when automaker DaimlerChrysler announced its plans to initiate a B5 factory fill in all of its new Jeep(R) Liberty Common Rail Diesel SUVs starting with the 2005 model year.

Earlier this year, NBB also welcomed DaimlerChrysler's decision to approve the use of B20, a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent regular diesel fuel, in its Dodge Ram pickup trucks for government, military and commercial fleet customers effective with the 2007 model year. DaimlerChrysler is the first U.S. automaker to specifically approve of B20 in a warranty position statement.

"At DaimlerChrysler, biodiesel is part of our vision for an America that is less dependent on petroleum, that protects and preserves the environment, and that values a strong and sustainable economy," said Deb Morrissett, vice president-regulatory affairs for the Chrysler Group.

Morrissett noted that in addition to the 30-percent improvements in fuel economy with clean diesel technology, biodiesel further reduces our nation's reliance on petroleum. While new clean diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 20 percent, biodiesel can further improve the carbon dioxide lifecycle balance. Biodiesel also cuts tailpipe emissions significantly. And it is homegrown -- thanks to America's farmers.

Amy Sigg Davis, chairman of the Ohio Soybean Council, said, "As a soybean farmer, to say I am excited about the advancements of soy biodiesel would be an understatement. As consumers, we have certainly seen an increased focus on alternative energy sources from auto manufacturers and other industry representatives. And we are aware that alternative fuels including soy biodiesel and ethanol are included in the President's energy plan. I can see nothing but a bright future for soy biodiesel, the nation's farmers, our economy and the environment."

The Ohio Soybean Council continues to make soy biodiesel a strategic priority in promoting the use of the fuel among diesel users across the state.

Biodiesel has become America's fastest growing alternative fuel according to the Department of Energy. More than 600 retail filling stations make biodiesel available to the public, and 1,500 petroleum distributors carry it nationwide. More than 600 major fleets now use biodiesel, including government and military, commercial and school bus fleets.

Based in Jefferson City, Mo., NBB is a nonprofit trade association coordinating the industry and educating the public about biodiesel.

SOURCE: National Biodiesel Board.