Mercedes-Benz announced a new generation of alternative fuel vehicles that are hitting dealer showrooms mid October. Designed to provide 20-30 percent higher fuel economy than gasoline engines and up to a 600-mile driving range, the new 50-state BlueTEC clean-diesel technology debuts on three of the company's SUV models: the 2009 ML320,GL320 and R320.

The Internal Revenue Service has designated BlueTEC technology as "Advanced Lean Burn Technology," which allows it to qualify for the same type of tax credit that hybrids receive. Buyers can qualify for up to $1,800 in tax credit.

The SUVs are the first vehicles to meet the BIN5 Emissions Requirements. The BlueTEC vehicles feature AdBlue injection, a process that reduces nitrogen oxide, a main cause of smog, by nearly 80 percent. As opposed to hybrids that achieve their fuel efficiency enhancements only in stop-and-go driving, diesel yields a fuel efficiency advantage in any type of driving scenario.

MBUSA is putting a fleet of 750 BlueTEC vehicles into dealer hands to facilitate getting customers behind the wheel.