Just in time for Mercedes-Benz's rollout of BlueTEC diesel vehicles in October, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has granted Daimler the Qualified Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, which qualifies the ML 320 BlueTEC, R 320 BlueTEC, and GL 320 BlueTEC buyers up to US$1,800 in tax credits.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified to the IRS that the Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC vehicles meet the strict emission requirements, a status thus far only granted to hybrid-electric vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC clean diesel vehicles are the first diesel vehicles to be granted the tax credit.

"Diesel passenger vehicles are one important piece of the future technology puzzle," said Margo Oge, Director of EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality. "Clean diesel is a viable, efficient technology to help improve our air quality and energy security."

The IRS has determined that purchasers of the ML 320 BlueTEC may qualify for a $900 tax credit, purchasers of the R 320 BlueTEC may qualify for a $1,550 tax credit, and purchasers of the GL 320 BlueTEC may qualify for a $1,800 tax credit depending on their individual tax status. The vehicles, which are the first diesel passenger vehicles to meet all 50 state emissions requirements and get up to 600 miles to the tank, go on sale October 1.

While analysts have long hypothesised that so-called 'clean diesels' ought to do better in the US light vehicle market, their prospects have been clouded recently by a growing differential between diesel and regular gasoline pump prices caused by diesel refining capacity issues.