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Audi at the 2008 LA Auto Show

Turbo Direct Injection … TDI …it was invented by Audi and it is the cleanest, most efficient diesel in the world.

Audi’s first TDI clean diesel offering will arrive in the Audi Q7 full-size SUV this April.

And as you saw in the video, we put our clean diesel to the test on the roads of America. Between October 6th and October 19th, 180 members of the media joined a handful of Audi representatives to travel nearly 5,000 miles throughout the U.S.

And the vehicles tell the story the best. There were four Audi models in the core group … the Audi A3 … the all-new Audi A4 sedan … the all-new Audi Q5 crossover … and the Audi Q7. Each powered by Audi TDI technology

The Audi A3 regularly attained over 50 miles per gallon. That means that the A3 would need to stop at a fueling station just 7 times in that cross-country tour.

The best fuel economy recorded by a team in the A4 was 44.8, and it regularly hit over 40 mpg.

The Audi Q5, our new crossover achieved a high mpg of 38.5.

But the real story is the Audi Q7. It’s that type of large sport utility that many American families love … and quite frankly, that they need for their lifestyles.

The Q7 attained a high miles per gallon of 33.1. This from a fullsize, 7-seater with 406 ft-lbs of torque and a towing capacity of almost 7000 pounds.

As the Audi Mileage Marathon proved, clean diesel offers America an opportunity to overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge … the challenge of oil dependency.

I believe that now is exactly the right time to bring clean diesel technology to this market …

… because I believe it represents an engine of independence for America.

Audi clean diesel engines consume about 30% less fuel than gasoline engines of equivalent power. Clean diesel produces about 25% less CO2 emissions, and with the emission control technology now available, NOx emissions are reduced by 90%, while particulate emissions are reduced by 98%. So it’s a compelling message, for the consumer and for the environment.

But there is also a national strategic imperative. The EPA estimates that if 1/3 of vehicles on the road in the U.S. were powered by clean diesel, then we would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. That happens to be the amount of oil we import daily from Saudi Arabia. We can dream about discovering new oil fields to make this country less dependent on foreign oil, or we can embrace the technology that achieves the same result today.

Unfortunately, America stands in its own way.

I applaud the goals recently announced by President-elect Obama. Just after the election we saw stories about how he wants the White House fleet to be plug-in electric.

Should we stop at the White House fleet? Obviously not. We encourage President-elect Obama to embrace clean diesel technology.

Because, if the U.S. Government is serious about reducing its dependence on foreign oil, it must — and can — do more to encourage consumers to drive more fuel efficient vehicles.

Current federal taxation on diesel fuel is rooted in the past, when diesel fuel was used primarily for commercial transportation. Today, clean diesel holds the key to dramatically reduced costs for private consumers, and an equally dramatic reduction in our carbon footprint. Yet, current fuel taxation policy in practice unnecessarily increases the cost of driving ultra-low emission “clean diesel” vehicles. This tax disparity creates a serious obstacle to encouraging more Americans to buy new clean diesel vehicles, resulting in negative consequences for both the economy and the environment.

Consumers are clamoring for more fuel-efficient options, but no one technology is the answer. …

Hybrid technology has its place for heavy stop-and-go traffic. Plug-in electrics sound promising, but the reality is we simply move the emissions downstream to the power plant, and in any event, it will require very substantial investments in time and money to increase the generating capacity needed to facilitate the large scale commercialization of electrically powered vehicles.

When it comes to fuel economy, environmental impact and cost of technology, clean diesel is a better option for the rapid commercialization of economically feasible alternative powertrain technologies.

Advanced clean diesel technology is available now. And the infrastructure to deliver diesel to consumers is in place now.

Unfortunately, too many Americans think of diesel as smelly, dirty, noisy and generally associated with trucks.

New, ultra-low emissions low sulfur clean diesel fuel and TDI combined allow our vehicles to be driven in every state. Not just meet regulations, but exceed them. We expect the Q7 will be certified LEV II ULEV here in California.

Not only will increased use of clean diesel engines in passenger cars help lower U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it will also reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions – a goal of California, and a goal of the Obama Administration.

Its widespread adoption will in turn set the scene for further evolution, in paving the way for the economically feasible production of bio-diesel, thereby taking us to the next level in energy independence and environmentally sustainable transportation.

Clean diesel makes it possible to create a car-lover’s car without the guilt. We can have performance … we can have function … we can enjoy life … and it’s here now. As they say in the classics…”what’s not to like?!”

Thank you.

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