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  Today Online 8 Nov 05
Think 'diesel' means 'smoky, noisy'? Not any more
By Lee U-Wen

Bosch aims to clear up the misconception that diesel cars are smoky and noisy.

IF you buy a Mercedes-Benz E220 car that runs on diesel, be prepared to fork out more than $12,000 in annual taxes, compared to about $1,800 for its counterpart petrol car.

This "high diesel taxation policy"--on top of the usual road tax, users pay six times more--has discouraged many Singaporeans from switching to such cars, said German firm Bosch, the world's largest maker of automotive diesel systems.

At Singapore's first Diesel Day yesterday, it appealed to the Government to "consider levelling the playing field for diesel" by lowering the taxes one has to pay.

There are just eight diesel passenger cars here, as of last year, down from 17 the year before. In Europe, about half of all vehicles sold run on diesel. In countries such as France and Austria, this number exceeds 65 per cent. The United States and even China have also steadily taken to diesel cars in recent years, said Bosch.

The benefits of cars running on high-quality diesel are plentiful, said Mr Odd Joergenrud, vice-president of Automotive Aftermarket Sales Asia Pacific at Robert Bosch South-east Asia.

"Diesel cars consume, on average, 30 per cent less fuel than gasoline cars," he said. "There's also an average reduction of 25 per cent in emissions of carbon dioxide."

In the long run, this would mean being less dependent on oil as well as having a cleaner environment with fewer pollutants.

To drive home its point, Bosch shipped in a fleet of diesel-engine cars including Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen for the Diesel Day launch at the Kallang Stadium. On a makeshift racetrack, guests were allowed to test-drive the vehicles to their heart's content.

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