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LETTERS

Increasing Availability of Biodiesel Fuel

March 09, 2003

"Diesels Fueling Renewed Interest" (Feb. 16) failed to mention the increasing availability of biodiesel fuel made from fresh or recycled vegetable oil. Although previously scarce and expensive, biodiesel is becoming more available at land-based and marine fueling stations.

The price has come down from more than twice the price of petroleum diesel to, at some locations, only a few cents more per gallon. As this trend continues, biodiesel should shortly be on a par with or cheaper than petroleum.

Even at a slight premium, the greatly reduced toxicity and particulate pollution associated with biodiesel makes it a bargain. Biodiesel is grown and processed in the U.S. and provides profits and employment here instead of overseas.

Robin Matt

Ventura

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I had a chance last year in Europe to drive a 2002 Grand Cherokee with a Mercedes-Benz 2.7-liter turbo diesel engine with 170 horsepower. Its performance was awesome. And you could hardly hear it.

Fuel consumption was said to be in the 25 miles per gallon-plus range although I didn't drive it long enough to verify that number. Compare that with the U.S. models with 6-cylinder or V-8 engines that barely get 15 mpg or less.

Why doesn't DaimlerChrysler offer this engine in the U.S., at least in the majority of states that do not follow California's extreme environmental dictates?

Herman Pfauter

Santa Barbara

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